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Web page on NEC and old electrical code at: http://antiquesockets.com/nec.html

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Old Nec Code

11712 Views 28 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Ecopat
For anyone interested I am working on a research project on NEC and the history of electrical codes.

I have so far posted a great deal of research material including old codes.

If anyone would like to add anything or make any error reports on my work, I would greatly appreciate it.


Thank you -- Michael
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Very cool. I've seen a lot of info on antique bulbs, but not a lot on the lampholders. The code sections were great as well. Keep up the good work!
Thank you - I will keep adding to the page.

I have a lot more material that I need to put into digital form.

I do still have a lot of work to do on the socket pages, many more pictures that need to be taken.

My current task is to get the image database up.
The image database will allow you to view pictures of all kinds of electrical items from early catalogs.

When I first started, I was doing one catalog at a time, now I am doing one section at a time for catalogs already in digital format. I am starting on sockets and will move on to the next item from there. So far I have about 50 catalogs scanned into digital from 18?? to 1920 and am busy adding socket images. After I am done with the database, I will be scanning in another 50 or so catalogs to add to the database.

When each topic is done, you will be able to track items using key words or company part numbers to see when the item first came out, and then the last catalog it was found in. This would give a good idea of a date range on a vintage item.

You can use wild card searches using the *

Example :
bryant-* would bring up anything with a bryant part number
*bryant* would bring up anything with the word bryant

First set your images to display a high number such as 50 at the bottom right of the page.

To researh an item:

Search for acorn
You will come up with several acorn sockets.
Go down to the bottom of the page and find the picture of the GE acorn GE part number 66223 and click on it. If you now move down, you will see a key word box, and the other acorns that this one came from. Click on the links for key words to view more info and dates and find other items. You will see that the first acorn socket was a Bergmann, then Edison General Electric, then GE and the catalog dates of the changes. As I add more catalogs you would be able to follow the acorn socket right up into the last catalog.

It is not linked on the main page yet:
You can find the catalog database at:


I hope this helps someone - Michael
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It's very interesting . Keep up the good work.
Good job. :thumbsup:
Great job. Please continue your work. Thank you for making this material accessible to us all.
Not a problem.

The link below has been updated with three more NEC's in case anyone is following progress.


Would the persons on this forum that purchase old NEC's post here who you are. I watch the bids on Ebay and every so often buy old NEC's I do not want to drive up an old book for a forum member. I will also check and post any duplicates I may have.
I'm guilty.

I have a complete collection back to 1959, then most back to 1937, along with a 1930 and an 1897.

I do have a duplicate 1940 if anyone is interested.

Is it just me, or do they get bigger as the years go by? :eek:
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For a minute I thought you had stole my collection.

I have 1915, 1918, 1930, 1935, 1937, 1940, 1947, 1951, 1953, 1956, 1959 - to most recent.

Duplicates 2 of a 1947, 2 of a 1953 and 1 of a 1965.

I would really like 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958 and am willing to trade.
I'm in the market for most anything prior to '37.
Old NEC Code Books

What is this all about You guys actually use these code books?? LOL;)
I have heard of some electricians using them to see how old installations were done. Others I am sure collect them the same way others collect stamps. They seem to go quite high on the rare book market, so there are many such collectors out there. Some collect important dates to them such as their or family members date of birth, etc.

I use them myself and compare differences in them for other reasons.
Electrical code through history helps me date old antique or vintage items.

Lamp sockets at one time were not marked in Watts for ratings, they were marked C.P. for Candle Power. It is hard to note just when such a change took place without going to a code book and finding the new rule or change taking place in the 1911 code book and starting with the supplement which likely first published May 1st 1910. 1899 marked the year that the NEC began requiring all socket shells to be marked with the CP rating. This leaves us a common date range that if a socket is marked with the CP rating it will likely be within the date range from 1899 to 1910. If it is marked WATTS it was manufactured after 1910. If there is no mark on the socket at all it is a pre 1899 socket.

If the socket is not marked at all - No company logo, no ratings, etc. it is a pre-1899 item as the 1899 code ruled that light sockets started being marked with this information.

Other good dating methods from code can be the insulation methods used, thickness of lining, brass shells, porcelain guts, for switches the transition of wood to porcelain, for motors what needed to be added to the manufacturer tags, types of wire used on items can help date them, the list really does go on and on for many different types of items and parts.

I hope this helps -- Michael
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What is this all about You guys actually use these code books?? LOL;)
When were GFIs first required?

When were grounded recepts first required?

When did Romex start getting used?

There was a time 2" was the largest EMT you could get.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."---George Santayana
a little history on emt. About the author Jack Benfield

Jack Benfield has been indentified with the electrical conduit industry since 1929. He was a pioneer in the marketing of thin wall (EMT) conduit in the U.S.A.

Republic Steel Corporation created EMT. To market this brand-new product the company selected six young sales men to cover the U.S.A. Jack was in that original group of six. It was called the "EMT flying squad".

The Great Depression of the 1930's made it no "bed of roses" to sell a new untried raceway. Almost every branch of the electrical industry tried to discourage the acceptance of thin wall conduit.

-- Electricians cussed it, because it was such a problem to bend. Only hickey-type tools were available and they kinked the EMT to easily.

-- Labor Unions wanted more labor, not less.

-- The steel mills wanted more tonage, not less.

-- The NE Code restrictions the use of EMT to exposed dry locations and to circuits of 300 volts, or less.

With a bleak outlook and such code restriction, those six young salesmen barnstormed the USA from coast to coast. The odds against EMT were overwhelming. "At times we wondered, "Jack says, "if it would ever become an accepted raceway."

Then in the early 30's a wheel-type EMT bender (hand portable type) with a fixed radius appeared. It did an acceptable job, but it was an awkward tool with four parts and a floppy hook.

The need for a better bender was obvious. Jack designed and patented the first one-piece, solid hook Benfield bender for 1/2", 3/4", 1", and 1 1/4" EMT.

Sales took off when one-sweep, one-piece benders became available.

Jack visited electrical superintendents on construction jobs all over the free world, and saw a great need for precision in conduit bending. That need triggered Jack into adding such helpful features as painted symbols, the startpoint, the arrow, the rim notch, the degree scale, the Zip-Guide® for bender handles and a simple formula for offsets and saddles.

Jack Benfield wrote the first pocket instruction booklet back in the early 1930's. Since then over two million copies of his instruction booklets have been published. Now, with the advent of the VCR and DVD, Jack has personally produced a one-hour VHS video tape (also available on DVD). He desribes it as his "full dress" bending demonstration and calls it "The Benfield Bending Technique."

This revised "Benfield Conduit Bending Manual" and VHS video tape (also available on DVD) are perfect companions for teaching proper bending techniques. Apprentice electricians watch the video then they use the manual as a textbook to "zero-in" on any bothersome bending problem.

Electrical superintendents, training directors and journeymen electricians, by the thousands, have endorsed Jack's simple, non-technical method for making conduit bends That Fit.

"After 75 years," Jack says, "I still love to watch a good conduit man do his stuff. It's great to see them make bends that drop into place and fit like a glove. I've noticed that even old-time electrical journeymen get a quiet a thrill when a tough-to-make bend fits as though it had been molded in place."


this is a great little book.​
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Great post TPR. Thanks. Having run literally miles of EMT, it was an interesting post.
I need information on how to care for these old books I have tried web searches without any luck. I have made this statement before 'No luck with web searches" only to have someone send me a link is 30 seconds.
Holy smokes. I foresee me taking about a week to look at all the info. I too am a history buff and this seems to be a good site. Thanks
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