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Author Topic: When did receptacles become outlets?  (Read 7293 times)

Frank DeWitt

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Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2016, 09:35:04 am »

And is "branch circuit" for electricians an "extension cord" for consumers.  :o
   

GRIN, and a Distro for sound and light guys
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2016, 03:31:47 pm »

If I'm reading this right, the correct question should be, "When did outlets become receptacles?"

So here's my take, it could be wrong:

The term outlet is derived from the days of gas lighting. A gas "outlet" was a threaded, to which you connected a gas lamp.

Edison adopted this form factor as a connector for his electric lights, since it was an interface ("screw the lamp into the outlet") that people were already familiar with.

Eventually, appliances other than lamps were devised, and they were equipped with a cord. At the end of the cord was a "plug" that screwed into the "outlet."

Then someone got the bright idea of a connector that wouldn't require twisting the cord when "plugging in." So they developed an adapter in the form of a "plug" that screwed into the "outlet", and on the other side was the "receptacle" for a "cord cap."

Eventually, the premises terminals for appliances evolved to where they just featured the receptacle, without the redundant and unnecessary outlet and plug adapter. But because "outlet" was the original terminology, it persisted in the vernacular to apply to the receptacles we use today. And "plug" persists to apply to cord caps for the same reasons.

* * * * *

It's kind of the same reason we "turn on" the lights, even though the switches we use don't actually turn. Back in the days of gas lighting, you had to turn a valve handle to release the gas so you could light the lamp. (And, perhaps, the same reason the term "light" applies to "lamps": from the action of lighting them.) The oldest lighting fixtures ("luminaires") were equipped with rotary switches, because that was the style of interface users of gas lamps were used to.
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2016, 07:44:57 pm »

If I'm reading this right, the correct question should be, "When did outlets become receptacles?"

So here's my take, it could be wrong:

The term outlet is derived from the days of gas lighting. A gas "outlet" was a threaded, to which you connected a gas lamp.

Edison adopted this form factor as a connector for his electric lights, since it was an interface ("screw the lamp into the outlet") that people were already familiar with.

Eventually, appliances other than lamps were devised, and they were equipped with a cord. At the end of the cord was a "plug" that screwed into the "outlet."

Then someone got the bright idea of a connector that wouldn't require twisting the cord when "plugging in." So they developed an adapter in the form of a "plug" that screwed into the "outlet", and on the other side was the "receptacle" for a "cord cap."

Eventually, the premises terminals for appliances evolved to where they just featured the receptacle, without the redundant and unnecessary outlet and plug adapter. But because "outlet" was the original terminology, it persisted in the vernacular to apply to the receptacles we use today. And "plug" persists to apply to cord caps for the same reasons.

* * * * *

It's kind of the same reason we "turn on" the lights, even though the switches we use don't actually turn. Back in the days of gas lighting, you had to turn a valve handle to release the gas so you could light the lamp. (And, perhaps, the same reason the term "light" applies to "lamps": from the action of lighting them.) The oldest lighting fixtures ("luminaires") were equipped with rotary switches, because that was the style of interface users of gas lamps were used to.

Sounds reasonable.  It must have been that consumers used outlet and electricians receptacle right from the start.  I have a 1909 Hubblell catalog called "Attachment plugs and receptacles The attachment plug is " of the separable type and consists of a cap and base."   "The cap is interchangeable with 30 different plugs and Receptacles"    Whenever the catalog shows a a Receptacle (mounted in or on the wall, no light socket)  it is shown with a cap.  so a cap can be inserted into a Receptacle, or into a plug that is screwed into a light socket.
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2016, 07:58:26 pm »

Here is some more on the subject
http://forums.mikeholt.com/showthread.php?t=145224


When Did Receptacles Become Outlets?

 

    This is a good example of the difference between the language of our profession, as used in the NEC, and what I like to call, "conversational English." In the first language, the terms "receptacle" and "outlet" are clearly defined, the one being a physical device and the other being essentially the location at which the first is installed. In the second language, the two terms are interchangeable, at least in the minds of your common citizen. If you try to explain to a homeowner that the box to which a ceiling light fixture or a smoke alarm is technically an "outlet," you may well get a blank stare.

    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted.

    If you try to explain to a homeowner that the box to which a ceiling light fixture or a smoke alarm is technically an "outlet," you may well get a blank stare.
    And if the HO says plug, just roll with it.

    "Electricity is really just organized lightning." George Carlin


    Derek



    look at the definition of outlet in the NEC

    Outlet. A point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment.

    look at the definition of outlet in the NEC
    And
    Receptacle Outlet. An outlet where one or more receptacles
    are installed
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John Fruits

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Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2016, 08:04:59 pm »

I once heard from an old timer the story of a little old lady who insisted that something had to be plugged into every outlet "So the electricical wouldn't leak out".
One bit of weirdness I have run into a couple of times, when someone says "plugged up" I think of plumbing, but they are talking about electrical cords, "Is the coffee maker plugged up?" or "Are all the Christmas lights plugged up?" 
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2016, 08:23:56 pm »

some more looking at catalogs shows that in 1911 outlet boxes appeared in the hubbell catalog  as in suitable outlet boxes for sockets and receptacles.  In 1930 they muddied the waters by referring to receptacles, outlet receptacles and outlets and even duplex convenience outlets (side or top wired) all on the same page.
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David Buckley

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Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2016, 04:46:32 am »

Good lord.  That thing in the wall that you shove a plug into: it's a socket :)

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Frank DeWitt

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Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2016, 08:16:23 am »

Good lord.  That thing in the wall that you shove a plug into: it's a socket :)

I read that in Ireland it is also a socket.
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Kevin Graf

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Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2016, 08:36:50 am »

Here is some more on the subject
http://forums.mikeholt.com/showthread.php?t=145224
When Did Receptacles Become Outlets?
    Derek
Yep, I asked the same question on that forum way back then. But now almost all brands of receptacles, call them 'outlets' on the package.
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2016, 09:35:07 am »

Yep, I asked the same question on that forum way back then. But now almost all brands of receptacles, call them 'outlets' on the package.

So I think you are saying that there is a receptacle behind the Ice Box and the Davenport but a outlet behind the Frig and the Couch.
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Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2016, 09:35:07 am »


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