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Facts on Electrical Outlets

Stock Photograph by Raine Vara

The origin and development of the modern plug and socket is pretty obscure, considering it is such an essential part of your daily life. Without them, your favorite and most used appliances would be obsolete. Since the invention of the electrical outlet, there have been changes that not only enhance the safety, but also make life even more convenient.


During the late 1800s and early 1900s, entreprenuer Harvey Hubbell II worked to find ways of controlling electricity and developed the first two-blade electrical plug and socket.


Electrical outlets in American homes distribute single phase, 120-volt AC, or alternating current to power household appliances designed for everyday use.


There are grounded electrical outlets and ungrounded outlets, which are typical of older wiring, and pose more of a safety threat.


Grounded electrical outlets, invented by Philip F. Labre, have three prongs instead of the original two blades.


Outlets and plugs with a blade wider on one side than the other are polarized; this is done to maintain the identity of the neutral conductor in the connected equipment, for safety purposes.

Fun Fact

There are wall sockets available that can rotate 360 degrees, allowing you to make use of both outlets at the same time in the case of large, bulky plugs.

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