In the past, electricity was mainly used for lighting purposes but it later turned out to be
a worthwhile alternative to other means of heating. During that time, the
majority of electricity firms used a split tariff system where the cost of
electricity appeared to be lower than that used for other purposes. Due to
this, low wattage appliances such as hair dryers and vacuum cleaners were
connected to the light fitting. As the demand for a secure installation
increased, a three pin outlet plug was invented, whereby the third pin on the outlets was
the earth pin.
While the majority of contemporary apartments in the world use a single socket that can
accommodate wide range different plugs, buildings in other countries feature
local sockets that can only accommodate one type of a plug.
Cross-border compatibility is never a requirement
As mentioned earlier, electricity was first introduced into the domestic environment towards
the end of 19th century and it was mainly used for lighting purposes. For many
years, gadgets and home appliances had to be patched directly into a house
wiring. Nevertheless, with the ever rising demand for labor-saving home appliances, electricity companies decided
to look for new and effective ways to connect the gadget to the main electricity supply. This is where the whole problem started and it explains why plug sockets are different in other
countries since every region manufacturers created their own plugs and sockets.
During that period, just a small portion of people used to travel across the border and
their electric gadgets were not portable. For this reason, compatibility wasn’t
a major concern among different countries, except for voltage and ampere.
Standardization was introduced too late
Initial endeavors in a bid to standardize the plug experienced some setbacks which
forced it to hold a little longer. Due to the World War II, all the discussion
concerning the standardization of the plug was halted and the issue dropped
until the 1950s. During that period, the majority of countries had their
infrastructure ready and conferred interests were created right into their
face. The majority of electricity firms had decided to serve their national and
regional markets. Currently, having a wide variety of different plugs and
sockets in the international market is inconvenient and expensive.
Is the introduction of a universal plug possible?
In the 1970s, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) presented its internationally accepted standards for the
universal plug. As per now, the standards have been adopted by South Africa and
Brazil and there is no possibility that there will be a run on the standards in
the near future. This is because many countries have invested a lot in
installing millions of plugs and sockets already and it would be had for anyone
one to convince then change the entire infrastructure
Lack of easy availability of information coupled with the fact that people were not used to
traveling a lot explains why plug sockets are different in other countries.
That is the end product when different people from different regions in the
world try to design something.
Note that this will never change in future since you can’t remove something
that is already working.