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In electric power receptacles, why do the newer ones have a third hole?

Learn why newer electric sockets have three holes instead of two.

New electric sockets have a third hole for grounding purposes. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
New electric sockets have a third hole for grounding purposes.

In 1962, the third hole was added to electric sockets for grounding purposes. Previously, electrical plugs with two prongs could give the user a shock if a short circuit in the wiring or in the electrical device developed.

New Electric Power Sockets

Since then ''double-insulated'' pronged plugs were developed (with fatter ends) that do not require a third prong for protection. But these new double-insulated prongs require new wide-slotted receptacles.

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