Electrical advice for a writer...

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by Matt1985, Jun 8, 2018.

  1. Matt1985

    Matt1985 New Member

    Hi there,

    Slightly odd request. I'm working on a novel set in the 1950s and there's an instance where someone fuses the lights in a house to make the whole house go dark. What are the possible ways this could have been done back then? Is using the term 'fuses' even accurate for the period? I've thought of someone pouring water onto the frayed wire of a lamp, or jamming a hair pin a plug socket. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

    Thanks and sorry for the bizarre question!
  2. robertpstubbs

    robertpstubbs Active Member

    Some of the dogmatic zombies that like to dominate this forum still use practices from the 50's so I'm sure they can help you.
    DIY womble likes this.
  3. Bob Rathbone

    Bob Rathbone Well-Known Member

    Fuses will be OK, mention fuse wire to repair the fuse, fuse the lights by putting a sixpence piece in the lamp holder, then put the lamp in, when the light is turned on the fuse will blow because of the short circuit caused by the coin.
  4. Matt1985

    Matt1985 New Member

    That's great! Thanks for that. Any other ideas would be very welcome.
  5. Bazza

    Bazza Well-Known Member

    The perp could simply remove the lighting fuse from the fuseboard.
  6. Bazza

    Bazza Well-Known Member

    Lights of that period would be
    1. a pendant hanging from the ceiling - the sixpence trick might work there
    2. a standard light, plugged into a wall socket. The sixpence trick would work here but that would either blow the fuse in the plug (BS1363 fused plugs were introduced in 1947). If it had an unfused plug (2A were common) the sixpence may blow a fuse in the fuseboard, but that may not necessarily darken the whole house.
  7. peter palmer

    peter palmer Well-Known Member

    My gran used to plug her iron into the pendant light and that was in the 70s, hardly had any wall sockets anywhere.
  8. DIY womble

    DIY womble Well-Known Member

    Over run a sink or bath upstairs leaks through light pendant
  9. spinlondon

    spinlondon Well-Known Member

    Safety pin through the cord.
  10. unphased

    unphased Screwfix Select

    Someone hangs a new picture on the wall and hammers a nail just nicking the edge of the lighting switch cable.

    Something on the lines of...Risteard, an Irishamn of note, famed for his 1950's rewires, has a picture he likes and gives to his customer to hang on the wall. "Be careful where yer heng that picture young lady yer never know where me wires might be". Mertyl was a little hard of hearing "Oil hang it over dare above the loight switch, so I will".

    Tap tap tap, the nail goes in straight and true. "Oil just turn the loight on now". Walks and shuffles across to the light switch. Flick. Darkness and big bang ensues.
    RolandK likes this.
  11. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    I can remember my mum doing that in early 70's.
  12. robertpstubbs

    robertpstubbs Active Member

    One came back from the dead.
  13. Matt1985

    Matt1985 New Member

    Thanks for all your ideas! Great stuff.
  14. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Well-Known Member

    Judging by the fact that the house I am working on in 2018 until a year ago had lighting wiring installed in 1938, I wouldn't worry too much about your imaginary house having totally up to date wiring!
  15. RolandK

    RolandK Active Member

    When I was a kid our house wasn't rewired until the mid sixties. Until then none of the 5 amp or 15 amp round pin plugs were fused. I remember there were some two pin 5 amp plugs where the top just unscrewed (no tools required!) The pins looked like big split pins so you just pulled them up a bit and put the bare wires in then just screwed the cap back on. That's all that held the wires in! By the time I was 10 I had developed an immunity to electric shocks . And the ability to rewire a fuse in the dark in under a minute!

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