When did circuit breakers replace fuses in homes?
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Although circuit breakers for residential panels were available in the 1930s, the earliest examples we have seen date from the 1940s. The one shown above is a Westinghouse from a house built in 1947. Based on the thousands of older homes we have inspected in Florida, it appears that the switch-over began to surge in the 1950s and was complete by the mid-1970s. We recently inspected a screw-in fuse type panel in a 1972 mobile home.
Electricians were leery at first of the new-fangled mechanical circuit disconnect devices. The one thing that fuses have always had in their favor is that they are both simple and foolproof.
Screw-in type fuses were completely displaced in the marketplace by breakers as service panels in the 1970s, but cartridge-type fuses continue to be used for certain situations, primarily because they can be calibrated for a slow response to allow for the initial surge that many large motors need to overcome inertia when they start up.
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