Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 23 October 2008

It's good to live in a golden era

Last night the landing light popped, cutting off all the other upstairs lights on that circuit. OK, it was a pain going down into the garage and pushing past my cold, cold car in my jim-jams to flip the switch, but not too big a pain. Because I can remember what the job entailed in Neanderthal times.

In those days fuses really blew. And since there were fewer of them much of the house would be in darkness. First you had to find the torch and the fuse wire. Then (holding the torch in your mouth) pull out the ceramic holder, slacken off two screws, attach a new length of wire and re-insert the holder.

As a result I am in love with my consumer unit (stupid phrase; fuse box was better). First, it’s so damn sensitive, able to throw the switch when a mere bulb filament parts. Second, rectification couldn’t be easier.

If my consumer unit were a poem it would be written by Ogden Nash:

Is dandy,
But liquor
Is quicker.

If it were prose it would be an extract from Thurber’s Agony Aunt column for animal problems:

Question: We have cats like most people have mice.
Answer: So I see from the photo but I can’t tell whether you need help or are just boasting.


Plutarch said...

I, too, remember those old fuse boxes (we had one until very recently), reels of fuse wire of different thicknesses and the problems of threading and securing the stuff. Something not to get nostalgic about!

Barrett Bonden said...

In our case the fuse wire, in differing thicknesses, was wrapped round cardboard in the shape (two dimensional) of a cotton reel. Perhaps the idea was to suggest that mending a fuse was a domestic task, the equivalent of darning a sock.

marja-leena said...

Different looking and sounding fuse boxes! Oh, I remember the old ones where the fuses would blow out regularly. Used to be that we could not use the toaster and the kettle at the same time because the outlets were on the same circuit. Not anymore. When we renovated this old house, we put in a larger service to accommodate more electrical circuits for more appliances and computers! I don't remember having to change fuses anymore. Do we even use those glass thingies anymore?, (she reveals her ignorance).

Anonymous said...

The unit no longer contains fuses, it contains MCBs (Miniature Circuit Breakers)and maybe RCDs (Residual Current Devices).
The unit itself is on the consumer side of the supply.
It's name is quite fitting.

Grandson v1.0

Barrett Bonden said...

If I were picky I could take the above commentator to task for an elementary punctuation error. However suspecting as I do the writer's identity I will bow to the superior information provided and promise to mend my ways.

Anonymous said...

Dam the offending apostrophe.
G. v1.0

Barrett Bonden said...

Anonymous: If you're going to swear, learn to spell.

Marja-Leena: The screw-in glass thingies were an interim stage between the stretched wire and the present boxful of switches. As far as I remember I only encountered them in the USA so they may be a North American speciality.