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Title: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Kevin Graf on December 22, 2016, 07:19:05 pm
When did receptacles become outlets?
In my NEC book, receptacles are what cords are plugged into. While outlets are the boxes on the wall that receptacles are mounted in. In general an outlet box has power drawn from it, like a luminary, appliance or receptacle.
But now almost all receptacle packages are labeled outlets. So what's going on?
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank Koenig on December 22, 2016, 07:30:43 pm
When did receptacles become outlets?

Language drifts, and formal usage drifts more slowly. You are correct in your observations.

Try going into a Home Despot and asking for building materials by their formal names. You will be greeted by blank stares and the (correct) notion that you are an elitist a-hole. How would I know? :)

-F
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Mike Sokol on December 22, 2016, 07:34:06 pm
Language drifts, and formal usage drifts more slowly. You are correct in your observations.

Yeah, "receptacle" is used by electricians, "outlet" is used by consumers. So what do we call a "plug"?
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank Koenig on December 22, 2016, 07:44:28 pm
Yeah, "receptacle" is used by electricians, "outlet" is used by consumers. So what do we call a "plug"?

"Cap" or "cord cap". Do I get a prize?
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank Koenig on December 22, 2016, 08:09:11 pm
Making up funny words for things is the principal way people protect their intellectual turf. Look at lawyers and doctors. We're no different.

1st column: What normal people say.
2nd column: What people who read this forum (and keep a code book by the toilet) say.

outlet -- receptacle
electrical box -- outlet
panel-mounted male power connector -- inlet
panel-mounted female power connector with a flange -- outlet (?)
plug or cord-mounted male power connector -- cap
cord-mounted female power connector -- connector
light bulb - lamp
lamp - lighting fixture
string-of-lights - festoon lighting

We can keep this going, or not.

And what the hell is a rosette? I think it's the cover for a ceiling fixture box.

Have a great holiday everyone.

--Frank


Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank DeWitt on December 22, 2016, 08:17:05 pm
"Cap" or "cord cap". Do I get a prize?

And it is the cap or plug cap because it goes into the plug or attachment plug.  (The part that screws into a socket and accepts the cap.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank Koenig on December 22, 2016, 08:25:41 pm
And it is the cap or plug cap because it goes into the plug or attachment plug.  (The part that screws into a socket and accepts the cap.

So a "plug" was originally the Edison screw-base to straight-blade adapter used before we had wall receptacles.  I knew you would have the historical perceptive on this. Thanks. -F
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank DeWitt on December 22, 2016, 09:49:15 pm
So a "plug" was originally the Edison screw-base to straight-blade adapter used before we had wall receptacles.  I knew you would have the historical perceptive on this. Thanks. -F

Yes, it was a breakthrough when it was made two piece. It stopped the cord from twisting and allowed the receptacle to accept straight blade caps. Before that a receptacle was a Edison socket mounted in a outlet box
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Keith Broughton on December 23, 2016, 05:58:49 am
When did receptacles become outlets?

Around the same time lecterns became podiums   ;D ;D
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Mike Sokol on December 23, 2016, 06:44:53 am
And is "branch circuit" for electricians an "extension cord" for consumers.  :o
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank DeWitt 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
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Jonathan Johnson 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.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank DeWitt 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.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank DeWitt 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
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: John Fruits 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?" 
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank DeWitt 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.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: David Buckley 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 :)

Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank DeWitt 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.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Kevin Graf 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.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank DeWitt 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.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Kevin Graf on December 24, 2016, 11:10:34 am
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.
I'm old enough to remember the Ice Box and the Ice Man.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Steve M Smith on December 24, 2016, 11:42:41 am
They are called sockets over here.


Steve.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Mike Sokol on December 24, 2016, 02:20:12 pm
They are called sockets over here.


Steve.

Allen & Heath consoles have "sockets" rather than XLR jacks....
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank DeWitt on December 24, 2016, 03:29:57 pm
Allen & Heath consoles have "sockets" rather than XLR jacks....

A fun (And necessary) page in the Haynes auto manuals is the English American translation page.
http://totalcarmagazine.com/features/2013/11/17/words_don_t_come_easy/
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: David Buckley on December 25, 2016, 04:26:13 pm
I read that in Ireland it is also a socket.

That thing is called a socket everywhere in the world except those countries that have adopted the NEC in  whole or in part.  Murica - you're out of step :) 
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Stephen Kirby on December 27, 2016, 06:10:41 pm
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.
Which may be behind the Hawaiian pidgin vernacular to "close the lights".  As in "Eh brah, try close the lights".  Meaning to turn them off.  When I was a kid I thought it was derived from the use of wooden jalousies on the windows of most schoolrooms.  Before we could watch a movie, we had to "close the lights".  Which meant both turning off the electric lights, and closing the jalousies.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Jerome Malsack on December 28, 2016, 08:44:45 am
"Cap" or "cord cap". Do I get a prize?

I see Cap or cord cap as a child protective device to stick in an outlet. 

and the consumer phrase, Plug this into the wall ?
 
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on December 28, 2016, 11:30:12 am
Which may be behind the Hawaiian pidgin vernacular to "close the lights".  As in "Eh brah, try close the lights".  Meaning to turn them off.  When I was a kid I thought it was derived from the use of wooden jalousies on the windows of most schoolrooms.  Before we could watch a movie, we had to "close the lights".  Which meant both turning off the electric lights, and closing the jalousies.

So can a jalousie be a transom?  Is a transom a jalousie?

I grew up (mostly) in Los Angeles, and our schools had double hung windows on the exterior and transoms over every classroom door.  It was possible to get decent ventilation except on the days when there was a Level 3 SigAlert (smog).  We couldn't go outside for PE and the teachers were supposed to keep the exterior windows closed.  Hot, stuffy boxes for classrooms...
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Frank Koenig on December 28, 2016, 01:12:05 pm
Which may be behind the Hawaiian pidgin vernacular to "close the lights".  As in "Eh brah, try close the lights".  Meaning to turn them off.

My friend from the Philippines says the same thing, which amuses me as "closing" the circuit "turns on" the lights. He also insists on calling seats, as in cars, airplanes, theaters, "chairs", and the floor, as in a building, "ground". Isn't language wonderful? I just wish it weren't so damn hard (for me). -F
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on December 28, 2016, 03:15:30 pm
So can a jalousie be a transom?  Is a transom a jalousie?

My definition -- which may not be your definition -- of jalousie is an operable louvered window, where the panes of glass open and close much like the louvers in a shutter or heater vent. Mr. Kirby's definition appears to also apply to the light-blocking louvers placed over the windows.

Or, as my sister called them when she lived in an old trailer house: "jalopy" windows, due to their notorious draftiness.

EDIT: Apologies to Mr. Kirby for misspelling his name in a prior draft.

Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on December 28, 2016, 03:19:59 pm
My definition -- which may not be your definition -- of jalousie is an operable louvered window, where the panes of glass open and close much like the louvers in a shutter or heater vent. Mr. Kerby's definition appears to also apply to the light-blocking louvers placed over the windows.

Or, as my sister called them when she lived in an old trailer house: "jalopy" windows, due to their notorious draftiness.

It's a floor polish! No, it's a desert topping!

I'm familiar with both jalousies and transoms as both were common in Southern California but from my childhood experience it seemed like Steve was using them interchangeably.  I have seen a jalousie-style transom, too, so that kind of paved the way for my post...

Carry on with outlets and receptacles!
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Steve M Smith on December 28, 2016, 05:15:12 pm
Which may be behind the Hawaiian pidgin vernacular to "close the lights".
My grandmother used to say "out the light" meaning to turn it off.  I think that was originally used for putting out candles.


Steve.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Stephen Kirby on December 28, 2016, 05:54:31 pm
My definition -- which may not be your definition -- of jalousie is an operable louvered window, where the panes of glass open and close much like the louvers in a shutter or heater vent. Mr. Kerby's definition appears to also apply to the light-blocking louvers placed over the windows.

Or, as my sister called them when she lived in an old trailer house: "jalopy" windows, due to their notorious draftiness.
Jalousie is the proper term but we always called them louvers.  Given the weather in Hawaii, it was basically a matter of light and airflow.  Most of the houses have louver windows (easy for the kids to sneak in and out at night  ;) ) and you open them to the degree you want outside air.  Usually a combination of wood on the bottom and glass up higher.  The ones in the classrooms were usually all wood.  Sometimes a few glass ones up top so there was always some light.  With a screen outside of the louvers, you just turned them to the compromise of light and fresh air you wanted.  Usually pretty much wide open except for movie time.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Jerome Malsack on December 29, 2016, 08:05:17 am
Same with the navy statement  The Smoking Lamp is out.   This applied to smoking cig's, Welding, Cutting, or burning of trash.   So still in use and tradition. 
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on December 29, 2016, 12:35:34 pm
Which may be behind the Hawaiian pidgin vernacular to "close the lights".  As in "Eh brah, try close the lights".  Meaning to turn them off.  When I was a kid I thought it was derived from the use of wooden jalousies on the windows of most schoolrooms.  Before we could watch a movie, we had to "close the lights".  Which meant both turning off the electric lights, and closing the jalousies.

I have a customer that seems pretty simple minded (not derogatory-just truthful-I have a great deal of respect for him as he runs a farming operation and owns much more land than I d, he appears to be making a comfortable living).  Not sure he has ever been far from home, but he threw me the first time he used the terms "open" and "closed" to refer to his outside security light being "on" or "off" respectively. I've wondered for some time where the terms came from.
Title: Re: When did receptacles become outlets?
Post by: Dave Garoutte on December 30, 2016, 04:51:14 pm
In Spanish: ciera la luz.  Literally close the light.
Also, in Spain the first floor is not the ground floor, but the next one up.