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Hi, i have been doing a bungalow rewire with a colleague, and came across these installed in lounge and bedrooms.
has anyone seen these MEM sockets before ? approx age ?20181111_120224.jpg
 

Deleted member 9648

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Arms Access
They were known as 'fireside' sockets at the time, and as above, late 50's to early 60's I think. That particular one looks in great condition, what was feeding it? Rubber or PVC?
 

markc123

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Amazing that’s still in such good condition

The electrical nerd inside me wouldn’t be throwing that in the skip ....
 

Gavin John Hyde

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Before my time so bear with me.
Would that be standard socket on the left handside then the fuse to protect the round pin outlets on the right, say via a 5 or 3 amp fuse?
 
Is that around the introductionof the square pins, so you had sockets that took old and new for a while?
Cool bit of kit, anyway. I remember my parents house had the old 15A and 5A round pin sockets, on the skirting boards.
 
That looks brand new, last time I saw such a thing it was old and yellow! And I was just 7 years old. It was at home, for whatever reason my Dad had some Christmas lights with a matching plug - I guess the position of the socket dictated where he put the tree!

That socket plate must be at least 60 years old and it looks like it was made yesterday. Keep it until you retire and you will have an a-grade condition antique!
 

freddo

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Esteemed Member
I too have never seen one of these in such good condition! The last one I removed had a crack right across it and was rather yellowed.
 

PEG

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TA
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I hope i live long enough,to see you queuing in the hot sun with that in a box,so some toff can appraise it,and we can watch you at Sunday teatime :)
 

Lucien Nunes

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Esteemed Member
That's the version of the 'Fireside Socket' that fits a standard 2g box. The original had a non-standard square footprint and was sold under the 'New Day' brand, the owner of which had a patent on the swing-out fuseholder that was inherently touch-proof.

Would that be standard socket on the left handside then the fuse to protect the round pin outlets on the right, say via a 5 or 3 amp fuse?
Yes. They are 2A sockets, which would normally be fused at 5A at the CU for fault protection only. So a 5A fuse would be fitted in the fireside socket instead.

Is that around the introduction of the square pins, so you had sockets that took old and new for a while?
It was actually a bit later, although round-pin sockets remained in widespread use for decades after the 1947 introduction of the 13A. There had been six different round pin sizes as they tended to be matched to the application, because appliances didn't move around as much in those days. If you had a 5A 3-pin socket for the standard lamp and a 2A 2-pin for the radio, it didn't matter if the radio always sat on the sideboard and the standard lamp always stood by the armchair.

The idea of the Fireside socket was to feed an electric heater and two small appliances such as a standard lamp and a radio. Triple unfused points were never permitted, so it gave you an extra point in the same space without any more wiring. Of course, it totally defeated the idea of all plugs being interchangeable in all sockets, which we have come to expect but was rather a novelty then. I think it was more of a solution to a problem that didn't exist.

If you have any spare of those, I would be very interested in an example or two for the museum. We have two of the square ones in mint unused condition, IIRC one badged 'New Day' and one with the name ground out of the mould, but not the 2G one badged MEM.

Fireside.jpg
 

ipf

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Arms Access
Talking interchangeable, l presume someone used to have a lead with one of those multi plugs..... you altered the pins to suit the socket. They did 13 amp, 5 amp and 15 amp round pin. I might still have one knocking around, although I can’t remember seeing it for a while.
 
S

Squid

Some people still use the round pin style sockets to switch lamps on in a room from the main lighting with as you walk in to a room.
 

ipf

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Arms Access
Some people still use the round pin style sockets to switch lamps on in a room from the main lighting with as you walk in to a room.
5 amp and 2 amp are still standard.......not 15amp, though.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18
The sockets were in the bedrooms as well as the lounge, all wired in pvc with stranded conductors (even the earth were three strands).

@Lucien Nunes , if you pm me your address i have found a couple more, and i will send them to you.
 

Lucien Nunes

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TA
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Esteemed Member
all wired in pvc with stranded conductors (even the earth were three strands).
When those were put in, the regs (e.g. 14th ed. of 1966) specified a CPC one size down from the L & N for many sizes of T+E. Therefore. 7/.029, the standard cable for rings before 2.5mm², had a 3/.036 CPC, equating to 3.0mm² with a 2.0mm² CPC. The three smallest cables, 1/.044, 3/.029 and 3/.036 all normally had a 1/.044 CPC however.

PM sent to Phil... at least with these 2G ones I don't have to ask whether the back boxes can be salvaged.
 

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