Minor British Institutions: the three-pin plug

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The Independent Online

The three-pin plug is a fine British thing. None of your Continental slightness or American economy, with their suggestions of flimsy gimcrack: just the two pins indeed!

The three-pin is a marvel of thought-through innovation. The earthing third pin and integrated fuse are part of our ring circuit system, developed to use the minimum scarce copper wiring in the massive reconstruction that took place here after the Second World War, while at the same time enhancing safety and creating uniformity.

You must draw your own conclusions as to why, despite its obvious superiority, only countries with British connections have adopted it. I'm in awe at a country fighting for its survival in 1942 also finding the time to begin planning better plugs (as well as a welfare state) for post-war Britain.

Present Britons who neither appreciate the bulk nor find inadvertently standing on the upraised pins character-building should know that folding three-pins are arriving.

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