Circa 1915


The floor-level outlet that has provided the power to our entertainment unit has long needed upgrading. It’s old two-pronger (as evidenced by  the interesting decorative detail around the plugs, as shown above) that has been an overloaded trooper in steadily supplying the needed juice through an eight-outlet powerstrip to all our audio/visual stuff. But it wasn’t until I was back there this weekend trying to make heads and tails of the massive tangle of cables and cords coming and going from the stereo, Playstation, VCR, TV, turntable, DVD, speakers, TiVo and satellite receiver  in order to get the DVD player and TiVo working with the TV and the TiVo working with our new DirecTV receiver that I found out how old when I opted to replace it for a more modern three-prong plug — and one without a metal faceplate.

After removing it, I looked on the back and found a series of patent numbers listed, the first being the top one in this pic:


Using Google to put the pieces together I eventually found a series of websites that told me this particular outlet had been in service in the house going back as long ago as 94 years, maybe a year or two less. One can only imagine the variety of things it powered over all those years.

U.S. Patent No. 1, 146,938 for an Attachment Plug Receptacle was applied for by inventor Harvey Hubbell on July 23, 1914 and approved July 20, 1915.  Hubbell’s most famous creations were the pull chain electrical socket and his original 1904 plug, which eliminated the need to hardwire devices directly to their power source. This plug adapted any of the past attachment plugs to now standard or knife blade plugs common to that era.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."