Dating antique screws
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The years between 1895 to 1910 witnessed a rapid growth in the use of electric light and with it significant improvements in the design of light sockets.An understanding of what these changes were and when they occurred provides a valuable tool for dating early electric lamps.We mention this bit of history because occasionally you will come upon sockets with these odd receptacles.As one might expect, they are quite common among the 1890s Lange-style sockets, but only rarely found on the later Tournier types.In fact, early electrical systems were exorbitantly expensive to install and to maintain, as well as subject to frustrating service interruptions and frightening power surges.As a consequence, the market for electric light during the 1880s was extremely small, and the number of “bulb receptacles” or sockets produced was miniscule.
One frustrating aspect of the market during this period was the variety of electrical systems in use.This shell design was the standard until 1890, when Philip Lange patented an improvement that did away with the expensive solid brass cap of the earlier model.Lange's patent utilized a sheet metal cap with a small strap across the inside to anchor the 2 screws that held the socket shell together and the internal body in place.This 2-screw strap system of joining was cheaper to manufacture and gave the socket a more finished appearance.
It was soon adopted by most suppliers and would remain a ubiquitous feature of mainstream socket architecture for the next 20 years.In 1892, General Electric took control of Edison's company and soon abandoned his DC dead end. Tournier, featured an improved switch design housed in a Lange shell.
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