But once they were set up, who cared what style plug their customers used? What were you gonna do, lug your new vacuum cleaner across the ocean on a boat? Early efforts to standardize the plug by organizations like the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) had trouble taking hold—who were they to tell a country which plug to adopt?
For example, Britain incorporated fuses in the appliance plug instead of the wiring system because of a shortage of copper at the time.
You know how the British had control over India for, like, ninety years? Well, along with exporting cricket and inflicting unquantifiable cultural damage, they showed the subcontinent how to plug stuff in, the British way! Problem is, they left in 1947. The BS 1363 plug—the new one—wasn't introduced until 1946, and didn't see widespread adoption until a few years later. So India still uses the old British plug, as does Sri Lanka, Nepal and Namibia. Basically, the best way to guess who's got which socket is to brush up on your WW1/WW2 history, and to have a deep passion for postcolonial literature. No, really.
Despite widespread global travel, the expense of rewiring electrical grids all over the world means there won't be any standardization of plugs anytime soon. Read the whole story at Gizmodo. Link -via Geeks Are Sexy