By Kenn Garder, National Accounts Manager and Technical Support, NPI/GPI Corporate
Home inspectors come across unique items in the course of a home inspection. Photo A is of a main service panel found in use in a house built in the early 1900s. Keep in mind that at the time it was built, very few houses had an electrical system, and if they did it was small — typically two circuits. So, while this panel was certainly state-of-the-art, it could also be considered a piece of art in its design and functionality. Nevertheless, it does not meet today’s safety standards, and the home inspector recommended upgrading the panel.
Below is some information from the manufacturer’s specification document for a similar product, from the “Descriptive Catalog and Price List” of the Bossert Electric Construction Company, published in 1896:
Box is intended to be used for “concealed” work, and arranged for 12 branch circuits. It is entirely made of iron, and contains main and branch circuit terminals, also binding posts for main and branch wires, all conveniently arranged.
All fuse terminals are calculated to receive standard fuse links. The box is also provided with a specially designed 100-amp double-pole knife switch; the operation of same does not interfere with closing and locking of door, whether circuit is thrown “on” or “off.” As will be seen from cut, the box is provided with ornamental iron door and lock. Box can be furnished from 6 to 12 circuits, with or without main switch, for either brass or iron armored conduit work.
12-circuit Box, without switch, plain slate, metal work dipped, $15.00
12-circuit Box, without switch, enameled slate, metal work dipped, 16.50
12-circuit Box, without switch, enameled slate, metal work polished, 20.00
12-circuit Box, with 100-amp double-pole knife switch, enameled slate, metal work polished and lacquered 25.00
I guess the moral of the story is to be on the lookout for treasures in historical houses!