Unusual Sockets: The Wandsworth 3 Pin Socket

Continuing our look at unusual sockets, we look at Wandsworth’s take on the 3 pin plug

Wandsworth Pins Configuration
Like a 3 pin plug though with a circular Earth pin.

Wandsworth are one of the oldest manufacturers of electrical equipment in the UK. In 1904, they were formed in Birmingham as the Wandsworth Electrical Manufacturing Company. They settled on the name from this part of London, as one of the founding members hailed from there. In 1952, they moved to a new site on the outskirts of Woking, where they remain today.

What few people might remember were the non-standard 3 pin plugs they manufactured. Alongside the standard BS1363 3 pin plugs, they also manufactured one with a round Earth pin (as seen by the diagram above). This wasn’t the only deviation from the bog-standard 3-pin plug: one version had a square Earth pin. There was a ‘T’ shaped Earth pin on a version by MK Electric.

With another take on the round pin, espoused by Wandsworth, MEM Electric’s version included colour coded Live and Neutral pins. Plus, their take on the socket included a neon ‘on’ light on its switch.

Britmac’s non-standard plugs

In addition to the Wandsworth variety, Britmac have manufactured similar 3 pin plugs and sockets with a rounded Earth pin. Furthermore, they also offer a version with a round pin, which is flat at the top.

Why is there still a use for non-standard plugs like the Wandsworth?

There is a pretty mundane yet obvious reason for why you still see non-standard plugs in use: security. An electrical item which uses a Wandsworth, Britmac, or even a Walsall Gauge plug, has no resale value for burglars. With medical equipment for example, it ensures that lifesaving equipment has their own sockets.

Britmac pins configuration
A Britmac three pin socket with a slightly flattened round pin.

Total Control and Distribution, 13 July 2017.

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