Unusual Socket Systems: The Walsall Gauge

A look at how the Walsall Gauge varies from the standard BS 1363 sockets

Walsall Gauge plug comparison.
Spot the Difference: a standard BS 1363 three-pin plug (left) alongside a Walsall Gauge plug (right).

If you look around many properties, there only seems to be one kind of mains socket in use. That is the BS 1363 Standard three-pin plug with live and neutral connections at the bottom pins, and earth at the top pin. The standard socket has neutral and live pins in horizontal positions with the earth pin pointing vertically. Have you ever seen a socket system which has live and neutral pins in the opposite direction? If you have, this is known as the Walsall Gauge system.

The Walsall Gauge system was designed by the Walsall Company. They also made conventional BS 1363 plugs that you see everywhere. One major difference with this variety of plug system (besides the pins) is the fact they were never designed for home use at all. They also have another voltage option as well as the standard 220V – 240V: 110V.

Core uses

If (and we mean a big ‘if’) you have seen a Walsall Gauge plug and socket, the most likely place is your nearest hospital. They are mainly used for filtered power supplies and to stop people from stealing the socket (in later years, for charging their mobile device). In hospitals, they are used for specialist equipment such as blood pumps. These are set to the regular 220V – 240V a.c. supply.

In some British Rail offices, they were used for filtered power supplies. On the London Underground, a 110V d.c. version is used.

Today, the Walsall Gauge plug is largely being displaced by the IP44 and IP67 plugs. Some of which we sell on our website.

Total Control and Distribution, 06 December 2016.

Image Credit:

Walsall Gauge plug and BS 1363 standard plug image by Jmb, 2006. Creative Commons License – Some Rights Reserved.


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