Fuses - All About These Important Devices
Whether it be a home or a commercial building, there are often codes in place that insist there be an overriding electrical protection system in place. Two systems are generally relied upon to do this: fuses and breaker boxes.
Fuses have been around for a long time. They first showed up in the middle of the 19th century, being used as a protection circuit for underwater electrical cables. It wasn't long before the father of the light bulb himself, Mr. Thomas Edison, was granted a patent for a lead wire, which functioned as a similar protector against extreme current surge. However, this patent was disputed by Joseph Swan, a physicist who had come up with the same basic idea in 1880, a year before Edison stumbled upon his creation. This rivalry eventually led to the two partnering to create Edison & Swan United Electric Light Company.
Generally speaking, there isn't a lot of variety when it comes to household fuses. Like the best inventions, there isn't a lot of room for improvement while still remaining with the same basic product. There are two types you're typically going to run into. The cartridge type consists of a tube with a round end that is snapped directly into the connectors of the fusebox. The other type you'll sometimes see are plugs, which screw into the fusebox in a similar fashion to the lightbulb. Both of these types perform the same function. But what is that function, exactly?
Fuses are designed to act as protective devices in a residential, industrial, or commercial setting where electricity is being used. Running through each fuse is an element designed to interrupt the flow of current. If this element gets too hot, it melts, which creates a new open circuit. This prevents electricity from continuing to flow into its usual circuit, such as to an appliance that is overloading the system. Without this failsafe, homeowners and others would be far more susceptible to the ruination of their appliances, electrocution, and fire. Luckily, changing out fuses is a cinch, and any homeowner should have a stock of several on hand in case they are needed.
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