Categories: Bridgeport, Invention and Technology, Shelton

World’s First Detachable Electric Plug – Today in History: November 8

Separable Attachment Plug
Separable Attachment Plug patent, Harvey Hubbell

On November 8, 1904, Harvey Hubbell II patented the world’s first detachable electric plug. The Separable Attachment-Plug, US patent number 774,250, followed Hubbell’s electric switch design in 1891 and his patent for the pull-chain electrical light socket in 1896. An inventor and industrialist, Hubbell opened his first manufacturing facility, the Harvey Hubbell Manufacturing Company, in Bridgeport in 1888. The company was built on the success of Hubbell’s first patent, a stand with a moveable cutter used to hold and store rolls of wrapping paper for use in retail stores.

The Hubbell flush attachment plug

The Hubbell flush attachment plug based on the separable attachment plug patent, November 8, 1904

Hubbell’s detachable electric plug revolutionized the way electrical wires were connected or disconnected from a power supply. At the time post terminals would extend out from a wall and any type of electrical device had to be hardwired to the power source. This was extremely inconvenient—and dangerous. If, for example, the device or appliance had to be moved and the wires were not connected to the correct polarity, a potentially damaging short circuit occurred. Hubbell went on to receive another 45 patents, most for electric products, and the company he started, Hubbell Incorporated, is still in business today in Shelton.

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Documents

Hubbell, Harvey. “Patent Number 471,612 - Electric Switch.” Bridgeport, CT, March 29, 1892. Link.
Hubbell, Harvey. “Patent Number 565,541 - Socket For Incandescent Lamps.” Bridgeport, CT, August 11, 1896. Link.
Hubbell, Harvey. “Patent Number 774,250 - Separable Attachment-Plug.” Bridgeport, CT, November 8, 1904. Link.

Books

Harvey Hubbell, Inc., and Western Electric Company. Electrical Specialities: Catalogue and Price List No. 9, August, 1906. Bridgeport, CT: The Company, 1906. Link.
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