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Author Topic: Whatizzit?  (Read 4491 times)

Offline Scott

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Whatizzit?
« on: June 25, 2000, 08:58:00 pm »
I found this thing at a junk shop for 50 cents..It looks like the porcelain base to one of those old hang-down-from-the-ceiling-on-a-twisted-pair light sockets from the 1920's, which is what I thought it was, yet, the top portion disconnects by twisting it off-like a rotary quick disconnect of some time. It's caked in crud, some of which appears to be coal dust(there's coal mining in the area I bought the thing)-I wonder just exactly what this thing is?On the bottom of it is the word "Paulding" and the number 4203. Something's written on top, but this thing is heavily encrusted in crud. Any ideas?

Offline Tim

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Whatizzit?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2000, 09:09:00 pm »
Scott,

If you cleaned the crud off would it look anything like this?


 

I'm not really sure what this was used for other than a simple quick disconnect but I'm curious if yours is similar......


------------------
-Tim

[This message has been edited by tim (edited June 25, 2000).]

Offline Scott

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Whatizzit?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2000, 11:47:00 pm »
No,not really-the base of mine was meant to be mounted to a base of some sort-a wall or ceiling,and hardwired in. It has the same(similar,anyway)hardwire contacts as a cleat socket-two exposed screws on opposite sides-like it was meant to be used with the old knob-and-tube wiring.What's the best way to clean up something like that? It looks to be caked with coal dust,paint,and years of general-purpose crud.

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Whatizzit?
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2000, 08:29:00 pm »
Tim:  Your porcelain doodad was used to allow an electrical device with a cord to be screwed into a light bulb socket.  The end with the hole (where the wire entered) is held steady with one hand while the other half is screwed into the socket.  That way the cord doesn't get all tangled up.  In the early days outlets werent always installed.  But every room had at least one lamp socket.

Offline Tim

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Whatizzit?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2000, 03:49:00 pm »
Hi Lightnin'Bill, welcome to the forum!

Thanks for the information on my adapter, do you think Scott's could have served a similar purpose but maybe more permanent?

Scott,

I've used toilet bowl cleaner before on white porcelain with pretty good results but I'm sure everyone has their own tricks to cleaning it. If the crud is thick you may have to scrape the top layer off by hand first.....

------------------
-Tim

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Whatizzit?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2000, 08:26:00 pm »
Scott's item is most likely what's called a "crow's foot."  It's purpose is just what Scott thought it was - a mounting system for pendant (hangs by the twisted-pair) lamp sockets.  The bottom (or would you call it top?) half of the crow's foot is mounted and wired on the ceiling.  The cord and lamp socket are wired on the other half. The two halves are then snapped and/or twisted together to complete the installation.  No exposed wiring or connections, either.

The easiest and most effective way to clean this sort of item is with paint stripper.  Buy the nastiest, least eco-friendly stuff you can.  The more warnings and skulls and crossbones on the package, the better.  Methylene chloride, the active ingredient in the stuff is a powerful cleaner but won't harm the porcelain or brass parts.  Muriatic acid (properly diluted) also makes a great cleaner, especially for metal parts.  Bubbles rust away like magic, but etches steel in the process.  (Which is helpful if you intend to paint the piece.)

Thanks for the welcome.  I'm a tech with a company that operates small hydroelectric generation plants.  Lots of great old electrical things to play with and I get paid for it.  BTW - My screen name comes from the fact that I survived a hand-to-hand 4000 volt electric shock that lasted over 30 seconds.

[This message has been edited by Lightnin'Bill (edited June 30, 2000).]