Mad Fuses

Whatever you say, buddy.

There was an a lot of response to my mention of a cabinet in my office that protested suspiciously that it contained no fuses.

There was pretty much universal demand that I open the cabinet, to find out if there were fuses, no fuses, or spring snakes in there.

Only Adam, however, took up the challenge of explaining the presence of the mystifying label, in light of my claim that labels are only applied in cases where the information on them is not self-evident, and that there is a cost associated with not knowing that information. Check on the info not being self-evident, no check on there being a cost to not knowing the information. Adam tried to explain that there was, maybe, a cost:

Frequently, the precise switch or fuse, is unlabeled and elusive. Example: My parents’ apartment has many intricacies (electrically speaking), poor labeling, and a poetic absence of order or common sense. If I were looking for the right fuse, and couldn’t find it, and saw a box like the one here in the pic, I would appreciate knowing that that NO FUSES were inside before I went ahead and opened it. Granted, opening the box usually isn’t such a big deal. Unless it is closed with screws, locked, or if there is just a bunch of crap conveniently positioned in front of it which would need to be moved before opening it (like at Mom and Dad’s).


Not a terrible theory, but what I hadn’t shown before was the context around that cabinet. Here, then, is the whole picture:

Wait, what about those other ones?

As you can see, the cabinet with allegedly no fuses in it (middle, top) is surrounded by 3 other cabinets, none of which have NO FUSES signs on them. For Adam’s theory to be correct, either that cabinet has to look more like it has fuses in it than the others, or all the other cabinets do have fuses in them, or they ran out of “NO FUSES” signs after just one.

No, let me stop you there. Don’t weigh the options. Instead, I will reveal what is inside that cabinet, and what is more, I will reveal what is in the cabinets alongside it!

Aptly labeled. But why?

Ooooh... that makes -- no, actually that makes no sense at all.

The cabinet in question? Well, it’s true, there are no fuses in it! And the semanticist in me even appreciates that there may be a distinction being made, although it unquestionably contains strips of metal that bridge circuits — those heavy, thick copper plates are more like permanent switches than fuses, because they are clearly not designed for the purpose of breaking a circuit by burning away when they are overloaded. They are probably the electric company’s demarc.

Do, however, take note of what is in the cabinet directly below this cabinet with no fuses in it. Go ahead and click through to the full-size image if you can’t tell… no wait I’ll just tell you IT’S FUSES.

I submit to you that really that wall should look like this:

Emphasize the positive!

3 thoughts on “Mad Fuses

  1. Could it be that once upon a time those copper plates were the home of fuses. That sign could then be used to notate that the fuses had been removed and put in another location (the box below). This would serve a couple of purposes:

    1) Indicate that the wiring had been upgraded.
    2) Tell future people that the copper plates were not a haxor’s way of getting the lights back on, but an intentional bridge. And more importantly, should not be replaced by fuses.
    3) Indicate that “this former fusebox” is no longer a fusebox. Don’t bother opening me. Find the new fusebox.

  2. Pingback: Methinks the cabinet doth protest too much – Terminus Est

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