The ACUPWR Papers

The History of the Electric Plug

Many people wonder why Europe and America have different outlets, which makes it exceedingly hard to travel internationally. In our last blog post, we learned that one of the reasons you have different electrical outlets while traveling internationally is due to the different voltage and currents that America uses versus Europe. Europe uses 220 voltage, while America uses 110 voltage for their outlets. So why isn't the voltage standardized? In our last blog, we learned that the two electric systems developed independently of one another. In this blog, we'll examine how the electric plug developed.

ACUPWR makes a variety of travel power converters, some made specifically for appliances. We also make electrical transformers, plug adaptors, and voltage stabilizers. Our high-quality products have been helping you with your electrical and power needs since 1978. Shop with us today!


If you think back to the late 1800s, Edison had invented the lightbulb and power generators to bring power to homes. But how do you take the electricity in a power line and make it useful for consumers to use? Enter the electric plug and outlet. Beyond directly wiring electrical appliances into your home (meaning you could not move them once installed), a man named Harvey Hubbell invented a two-prong plug that could be separated from the electrical appliance itself. However, electrical shock was common with this model.

In 1928, another man named Philip Labre introduced a third prong, which served as the ground for the outlet. This way, if a short circuit occurs in the wiring, the electricity will flow through the prong and harmlessly into the ground instead of into you. This is the model for our electrical outlets today. However, due to the lack of standardization, many countries have different-sized plugs, meaning you can't access the electricity with a plug that won't fit. Europe uses different angles, and Japan uses different shapes.

By now, you are probably thinking, "Could this be any more complicated?" The answer is yes, but only in the technical way electricity operates, which, thankfully, is left to the professionals. For you, the answer is simple: ACUPWR's international plug adapters. With an international plug adapter, you can plug your American appliance into an outlet in Europe and it will work, provided that your appliance is made to handle the voltage in Europe or other foreign country that you are visiting. One thing to keep clear is this: international plug adapters do not convert electricity; they only allow you to plug your electronic device into a different-sized outlet.


ACUPWR understands how confusing plug adapters can be, which is why we've made our website incredibly easy to find what you are looking for. We have a visual plug adapter guide available so that you can see which type of international plug adapters you will need for which country you are traveling to. Our plug adapters are affordable, easy to use, and easy to pack, taking up very little room in your suitcase. We also offer travel converters in case you do need to not only have a plug adapter, but also need to convert voltage as well.

If you will be traveling and staying for a while, you may want to consider our global surge protectors. Designed to be able to handle almost every single plug shape in existence, these sure protectors can help you not only use your electronic devices while abroad, but you will also be able to do so safely.

ACUPWR has been offering our American-made electrical adapters, voltage transformers, and voltage converters for over 40 years. Our attention to detail and craftsmanship are unrivalled in the travel industry. Our mission is to help make your international travels convenient and safe. Browse our entire selection of electrical adapters online today!

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