Museum of Plugs and Sockets logo, small DDR made plugs and sockets
(German Democratic Republic)

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Plugs and sockets shown below have been made in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR (German Democratic Republic, GDR). After the German reunification in 1990 production of plugs and sockets according to DDR standards ceased rapidly. DDR plugs and sockets were essentially identical to material made those days in Western Germany, but details could differ.
Many products had a quality mark - an unique DDR feature.
The DDR had its own system of Duroplast molding mark. They can be helpful to trace manufacturers.

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, Zwickau.


DDR 2-pole socket DDR 2-pole connector DDR 2-pole plug Krania 2-pin plug made of melamine
DDR 2-pole plug DDR Schuko-type plug
Krania kontur plug with moulded cord DDR appliance connector

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 (unknown) 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 trade name FELMAS. The plugs must have been made in the late 1930s and is therefore not a DDR product, but because of initial shortage of material pre-WW II products remained in use for a long time (see also plug no. 7).   {PM}

* 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 housing 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 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, used by Bergers Elektro-Mechanische Ausrüstungen GmbH in Beelitz (Brandenburg).    {PM}
4 Grade 1 plug rated at 6A-250V. Manufacturer: VEB Elektroinstallation Kranichfeld in Kranichfeld, Thüringen. The DAMW molding mark indicate that the cast has been made of Aminopast, a melamine resin (code 152), reinforced with cellulose.   {PM}
5 Plug rated at 6A-250V without cord grip. Manufacturer: BEMA (see no. 3). 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}

Schuko type of plug with earthed clips commonly used in Germany from the 1930s, but using the registered trade name Schuko was not allowed in the GDR. The shown model was made by VEB für Installationen, Kabel und Apparate (IKA) in Sondershausen in the 1980s (flash logo top left). Rating: 10-16A - 250V. It has features that point to an export product:
(1) besides earth clips it has also a contact for sockets with an earth pin, although such sockets were not used in the GDR;
(2) a 'Q1' top quality mark was too expensive for the home marked (see note), and
(3) it has two non-GDR certification marks: VDE and KEMA certification marks.   {PM}
The museum has several nearly identical plugs, with and without additional contact for earth pins, that have quality grade 1 (triangle with 1). It is likely that those plugs were home market products. The upgrade to top quality was probably done for economic reasons (hard currency revenues) rather than technical improvements.
Quality grade 1 plugs with earth pin contact could have been exported to Czechoslovakia and Poland.
7 Rubber plug with permanently fixed cord, rated with  at 10-16A - 250V made by Krania in Kranichfeld, Thüringen.The model fits in not earthed sockets, but also in Schuko and French (CEE 7/5 ) socket. It is therefore to be regarded as a DDR version of the CEE 7/17 contour plug. Plugs have first of all designed to facilitate export of appliances to Czechoslovakia and Poland, countries that both have chosen for French type sockets. Certification marks suggest appliances with these plugs were also exported to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands and Western Germany.    {PM}
8 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}


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. The collection has two almost identical "Würfel", both made by EIP, but with different logos. EIP stands for VEB Elektroindustrie Plauen, Sachsen   {PM}
11 Extension cord with triple outlet, rated at 10A-250V. This tabletop model dates back to late 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


IKA-EIR appliance connector adapter
IKA-EIR appliance connector adapter

IKA-EIR appliance connector adapter and plugs

15 - 17 Adapter plug with 6.0 mm pins on one side (image no. 15) and contacts for 4.0 mm pins on the other side (image no. 16).
Such adapters have been designed to couple a standard type, not earthed plug (image no. 17, right) to an appliance connector (black plug, left). Formerly separate extension cords with an appliance connector were used for irons, vacuum cleaners etc. The adapter enabled the use of extension cords also for other applications, for example (table) lamps. Dating: 1960s-'70s.

Manufacturer of adapter: VEB Elektroinstallation Ruhla, in Ruhla, Thüringen. EIR was one of the companies that was allowed to use the trade name IKA (Installationen, Kabel und Apparate). Manufacturer of appliance connector: Scholz & Wenzel in Kleinschmalkalden, Thüringen. Manufacturer of white plug: Krania in Kranichfeld, Thüringen (also shown in image no. 4).
Rating: 6A-250V for adapter and plug, 10A for appliance connector. Each has a grade 1 quality mark.   {PM}


1A-250V connector plug (1)
1A-250V connector, inside (a)
TWG 1A-250V connector plug
1A-250V connector, inside (b)
TWG contact thermometer

1A-250V connector plug (3) 42 Volt multi-plug 42V socket for concentric plug, made by Walter Berger 42V concentric plug, mader by Walter Berger

18 Connector plug rated at 1A - 250V. It has a category 1 quality mark. Overall dimensions in mm: 41 (length), 26 (width), 12 (height); contact zone: 11 x 21 x 9 mm. Contact diameter and spacing: identical to plug no. 19.
DAMW molding mark: M49. Manufacturer: Jumax (company details unknown).   {PM}
It is likely that the plug has been designed for applications comparable to plug no. 19. See caption to image no. 20. for details.
19 1A - 250V connector plug made by VEB Thermometerwerk Geraberg (TWG), probably in the 1950s - 60s. Wires have to be joined with solder. Image no. 20 shows the use of the connector plug.   {PM}
20 Example of a mercury expansion thermometer with switch. Thin internal wires in such thermometers make or break contact at an - adjustable - temperature. A small 1A - 250V contact plug (see image no. 19) is used to connect thermometer to an appliance control unit (not shown).
The use of a plug with small pin contacts, close to each other has two advantages: (1) thermometers ask for small size plugs, and (2) it avoids potentially dangerous use of a standard mains plug. From the 1970s comparably small 42 Volt plugs were used. A 42V multi-plug is shown in image no, 22. Info: Peter Martin; photo: Ingo Marggraf.

History of Thermometerwerk Geraberg (TWG). The company was founded in 1900 by Keiner, Schramm & Co. in Arlesberg*, near Ilmenau, Thüringen. Early 1950s TWG became part of Kombinat VEB Werk für Technisches Glas Ilmenau. The VEB splitt up in 1972 and renamed VEB Thermometerwerk Geraberg. In the GDR it was common practice that VEB's produced the full range of necessary components. This explains why connector plug 19 has a TWG logo. In 1990 the, now independent, company was renamed to Geratherm Medical AG.
* neighboring villages Arlesberg and Gera fused in 1923 and became Geraberg. Manufacturers of thermometers and related glass instruments were the largest employers in Geraberg.

21 Connector plug without any indication rating, origin and manufacturer. Because the plug closely resembles plug no. 18, a rating of 1A - 250V is likely. The Austrian donor of the plugs added a note that the connector is said to be from a heated tea of coffee mug, and - if the assumption is correct -  it must be Chinese made.    {MSt}

42 Volt
Low, "not dangerous" voltage local circuits were used in the German Democratic Republic (DDR), among others in wet rooms and at schools, hospitals and laboratories*. Low voltage was initially defined at 24 to 42 Volt AC or 60 Volt DC. Later raised to 50V AC and 120V DC.
Different types of plugs and sockets have been designed for low voltage applications to minimize the risks of connecting equipment in 220 Volt sockets. Examples of low voltage plugs and sockets are shown in images 24 - 26.

* for example:
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 that was used for equipment as microscopes, mixers, mercury switch thermometers etc. [info: Peter Martin].
22 Two-way multi-plug, rated at 10A - 42V. Pin dimensions: diameter: 3.5 mm; length: 9 mm; spacing 11 mm.   {PM}
23, 24 Concentric socket and plug, rated at 10A - 42V.    Socket: {PM}; plug {WN}.
Marks, found on both socket and plug: top right: DAMW molding mark (L64/31, see below) and rating (10/42); bottom left: logo of manufacturer, Walter Bergers Elektro-Mechanische Ausrüstungen GmbH in Beeliz (apparently Berger has used two logos, see also plug no. 3); bottom right: quality mark.


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

25 - 27 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}
*  Oberlind is a part of Sonneberg, a small town in Thüringen, close to the border of Bayern.
** IKA: "Vereinigung Volkseigener Betriebe für Installationen, Kabel und Apparate" Leipzig.


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 phenoplast, aminoplast and comparable 'Duroplast' resins. The use the name Bakelite was not permitted in the DDR.
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 (phenoplast). Designs 'b' and 'c' were most often used.

Lists of DAMW codes for companies and types of resins can be downloaded as pfd's.


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