When I first wrote about “other small appliances” on this page, I mentioned that some of the early appliances had “screw-in” plugs that were intended to be used in a light socket.
If you were born after 1950, you probably have no idea, unless you have seen some of the old movies that show a SINGLE cord hanging from the ceiling with a bare light bulb – which was the way old homes were “electrified” on the cheap, with the electric wires fastened to walls and ceilings and with a “drop” line for lights or for electric appliances.
I have three Hankscraft egg cookers, ceramic bodies with electric elements to boil water so the eggs cook in steam. The earliest came with one of those screw-type plugs. Unless one had a “duplex” or “Y” socket, there was either light or appliance and using both was tricky because if the circuit was overloaded it would burn out the fuse and early fuses were expensive. If one was renting a room, often the owner installed coin-oprated electric “boxes” so one had to use a coin to connect to the electricity.
This photo shows all three of the Hankscraft cookers along with some egg cups that were manufactured to match.
The one in the center is the earliest. Model # 599. It also has a cup on top in which the water was placed – so it dripped down onto the heating element.
and the infamous “plug” which is rarely seen.
Next is the model 815, in which the water was added directly to the cooking bowl AFTER the appliance was plugged in. Then the cover was placed over the eggs. It states that after the water has steamed away, the current will shut off. I’ve tried this and the current did not turn off until well after the element was completely dry. I would advise using a timer and turning it off manually, if anyone wants to try using one of these. I don’t have the metal egg plate for boiled eggs in the shell for this one, only the poaching cup. And there is a chip on one of the little “lugs” that holds the poaching cup in the chamber.
In this one you can see the slot that has been cut into the dome so the handle for the poaching cup will be outside the chamber (and is supposed to stay cool) and the handle of course makes it easier to pick up and carry.
Lastly, there is the Model 874, which has the metal egg plate but no poaching cup and there is no slot in the dome so I assume the poaching cup did not have a handle – and might have been awkward to retrieve when hot…
This one says to put the water in BEFORE plugging in, which I think is wise. It also states that when cooking is done the current will shut off and in this one it did. Apparently the sensor still works.
This one is a yellow that was popular in the 1930s and in fact matches the Fiesta yellow and has the same ribbed design that appeared on some Fiesta pieces. I can only find one matching egg cup but I am sure I have a set of 4… somewhere.