Museum of Plugs and Sockets logo, small 2-pole plugs and sockets,
German Democratic Republic made 
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Plugs and sockets shown below are made in the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR). After the German reunification in 1990 the production of plugs and sockets according to DDR standards ceased. DDR plugs and sockets are essentially identical to material made those days in Western Germany, but details - notably quality marks - are unique.
The DDR had its own system of Bakelite molding mark, that can be helpful to trace manufacturers.

 
Note that a-f (below) refer to photos of manufacturer marks shown after image no. 18.

Find more DDR material in gallery on classic Schuko, and obsolete heavy duty plugs and sockets.
The large collection of DDR material has been donated to the museum by Peter Martin.

 

DDR 2-pole socket DDR 2-pole connector DDR 2-pole plug DDR 2-pole plug
       
DDR 2-pole plug DDR appliance connector DDR 2-way multi-plug DDR 3-way multi-plug

1 Bakelite 2-pole socket, rated at 10A-250V. The socket dates back to ca. 1960 and has a grade 1 quality mark (see explanation below). The porcelain inner part has a barely visible manufacturer mark with capital letters W and S.   {PM}
2 Bakelite 2-pole connector, rated at 10A-250V. The outlet has a German VDE* certification mark and MPAD molding mark**, but no DDR quality mark. The connector has been made by Gustav Schortmann & Sohn Fabrik Elektrotechnischer Spezial-artikel in Leipzig, who used the trademark FELMAS. The company was in the 1930s one of the German market leaders for plugs and appliance couplers. The plugs must have been made in the late 1930s and is therefore not a DDR product. However, when the German Democratic Republic was founded there was still a lot of pre-WW II material in use.   {PM}

After WW II Leipzig was situated in  the Soviet occupation zone. Large parts of the East German industry were claimed by the Soviet Union for reparations, among others Schortmann's company. Source: "Demontagen in der Sowjetschen Besatzungszone und Berlin 1945 bis 1948". Some production of installation materials was continued, but the successful prewar years were definitely over.

* VDE was founded in 1893 as Verband Deutscher Elektrotechniker; now a large testing and certification institute.

** Materialprüfungsamt zu Berlin Dahlem, an institute that from 1924 was involved in testing Bakelite products.
The MPAD mark reveals that the Bakelite cast of the connector has been made by Robert Anke in Ölsnitz (Vogtland). Assembly and sales of plugs, connectors and sockets was done by Schortmann. 
3 Quality grade 2 plug rated at 6A-250V. The only other mark shows 'AS'. It is unknown whether AS is related to the name of the manufacturer. Probably late 1950s or early 1960s.   {PM}
4 Plug rated at 6A-250V with a grade 1 quality mark. Just visible is a metal strip inside, being a part of the cord grip. Brand name: BEMA, Bergers Elektro-Mechanische Ausrüstungen GmbH in Beelitz (Brandenburg).    {PM}
5 Plug rated at 6A-250V without cord grip. Brand name: BEMA (see no. 4). The collection of DDR plugs comprises two copies of this model. One has a grade 2 quality mark, the other is grade 1. Apart from the mark, the to plugs a fully identical. There are at least to possible explanations for the difference in certification. It could be that it was initially a mark 1 plug, but after designing plug no. 4 (with cord grip), the model without cord grip was 'degraded' to level 2. But it is also possible that the original model had a quality mark 2 and later 'upgraded' to level 1 when quality level 2 was abolished in 1970.   {PM}
6 Grounded appliance connector of the same BEMA design as plug no. 5. Rated at 10A-250V and graded as quality level 2. The  additional T mark indicates that the plug can resists temperatures above 60°C, because of the steatite plug tip.    {PM}
7 Bakelite 2-way multi-plug, rated at 6A-250V made by Thega-Kontakt in Berlin. A list of Jewish businesses in Berlin shows that Thega-Kontakt was founded in 1923 and confiscated in 1938. Post-War electrotechnical products of Thega-Kontakt are unknown. Hence it is a pre-DDR plug that has survived WW II and was used for many years in Eastern Germany.   {PM}
8 3-way multi-plug, rated at 6A-250V. Quality level 1. Brand name: Vereinigung Volkseigener Betriebe für Installationen, Kabel und Apparaten, Leipzig. A conglomerate of expropriated companies that have existed, as IKA, from 1948 till 1958, thereafter it became a part of the VEB Fahrzeugelektrik Ruhla (FER). The additional EIR mark refers to Elektroinstallation Ruhla probably a part of IKA or FER.   {PM}

 

DDR 4-way multi-plug DDR 4-way multi-plug, inside
DDR 3-way table multi-plug

KWO Stromfix-Junior extension cable KWO Stromfix-Junior extension cable KWO Stromfix-Junior extension cable

9, 10 Four-way multi-outlet with original woven cotton cable, rated at 6A-250V. Probably mid 1950s. This DDR type of outlet was commonly known as "Würfel", the German word for dice. The housing consists of two triangular parts; image no. 11 shows the inside after removing one part of the housing. Brand name EIP. The DDR collection has two 99% identical "Würfel", both made by EIP, but with different logos (respectively h and i, see below). Logo h has some similarity with the IKA logo (see e). A relation to the IKA conglomerate could be possible, but any evidence has not yet been found (see also image f).   {PM}
11 Extension cord with triple outlet, rated at 10A-250V. This tabletop model dates back to the second half of 1960s. It has been made by the VEB Elektroinstallation Ruhla (ERU) in Ruhla, Thüringen. Later, ERU became a part of Kombinat VEB Keramische Werke Hermsdorf, a larger association of state owned enterprises.   {PM}
12 - 14 Bakelite reel with 9 meters of two-wire cable, rated at 6A-250V. Model name: Stromfix Junior (model I).
A note around the single outlet indicates that a fully rolled-up cable may carry a maximum load of 750 Watt at 220V. Note that the orange 2-pole plug looks like an Europlug, but it was originally a larger model that has been modified to fit in a Schuko socket. Brand name: Kabelwerk Oberspree (KWO), Berlin- Oberschöneweide. KWO was founded in 1897 by Emil Rathenau, CEO of AEG and existed until 1995. Stromfix cable reels were introduced in the late 1950s. Date of production of the model shown is unknown.

A Stromfix Junior III and a Russian cable extension reel are displayed separately;   click image right >>
Stromfix Junior III

 

DDR plug for Christmas tree ilumination DDR plug for Christmas tree ilumination DDR clip for Christmas tree ilumination

42 Volt multi-plug   Marks on DDR plugs and outlets

15 - 17 Special type of plug designed for a 16-lamp Christmas tree illumination set. The possibility to detach one of the connection makes it much more easy to decorate a Christmas tree with a series of 16 light bulb sockets with clip, connected to each other by a single wire. Note that the basal part of the plug has been modified to allow the use in a Schuko socket. The illumination set is a 1960s VEB Elektroinstallation Oberlind model, and has with an IKA plug.   {PM}
* IKA mark for "Vereinigung Volkseigener Betriebe für Installationen, Kabel und Apparate" Leipzig (existed from 1948 till 1958);
Oberlind is a part of Sonneberg, a small town close the the border of Thüringen and Bayern.
18 Two-way multi-plug, rated at 10A - 42V DC. Pin dimensions: diameter: 3.5 mm; length: 9 mm; spacing 11 mm.
For safety reasons a low voltage was used special types of applications, for example mercury switch thermometers that makes contact at a given (adjustable) temperature.
The former Institut für Chemie der Hochschule in Karl-Marx-Stadt (now Institute of Chemistry of the Technical University of Chemnitz) had its own 42 Volt network [info: Peter Martin].   {PM}
a - j a, b: TGL quality marks 1 and 2;  c-j: logos of former DDR manufacturers of plugs and sockets displayed on this page (see legends of matching plugs for details).

 

DDR quality marks

Q = top quality
S = very good quality *
1 = good quality
2 = acceptable quality **
 * : used until 1960, then S merged with Q
** : abolished in 1970

DDR Quality marks (Gütezeichen der DDR)
 
Quality marks for many products made in the German Democratic Republic (DDR) were introduced in 1950 by the German Organization for testing of materials and goods (Deutsches Amt für Material und Warenprüfung, DAMW), which in 1973 became the Organization for standards, measure and testing of materials (Amt für Standardisierung, Messwesen und Warenprüfung, ASMW). DAMW quality marks were established by Technical instructions on quality and terms of delivery (Technische Güte- und Lieferbedingungen, TGL), comparable to  DIN standards. Three of four TGL quality marks - Q, 1 and 2 - have been found on DDR plugs and sockets shown on this page and/or the page on Classic Schuko plugs and sockets.

The quality grading system was used to indicate which goods were suitable for export (or supply to the Military/Government agencies) and which were only for the domestic civilian market. Even the export grades were divided into suitable for export to "socialist" and "non-socialist" countries. Export to the latter was important to get hard currencies. Occasionally some export quality material was available for the home market, but they were more expensive than 'standard' domestic quality material.
DAMW Ueberwachungszeichen


DAMW Molding mark (Überwachungszeichen für Formmassen)

Molding marks were used for casts made of Bakelite and comparable resins.
Left / top code identifies the press work; often, but not necessarily, identical to the manufacturer of the plug or socket). L64 = Walter Berger, Mechanische Werkstätten, Beelitz.
Right / bottom code indicates the resin used. No. 31 = phenolic resin, reinforced with sawdust filler (Bakelite), that is most commonly used for plugs. Designs 'b' and 'c' were most often used.

 


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