The British electrical plug. A design classic you either ignore, or ridicule depending on where you’re from.

Apple British plug design
The new plug packaged with the Apple Watch in the UK.

Foreign visitors have been known to query the design of the British electrical plug which, compared with that of most countries, seems quite large and – if you accidentally step on one – rather painful.

Well once it’s plugged in it’s not that large at all, and far less easy to accidentally kick out of the socket. You don’t get the sparking and whiff of ozone you do in other countries because the electricity doesn’t start flowing until all contacts are safely behind plastic. And newer designs are a lot slimmer than they used to be. Apple’s patented design (pictured above) has prongs that fold away like synchronised swimmers, a solution so elegant you wonder why no one came up with it before. I hope they make it free to others to use…

But aesthetics aside, there are other reasons why the British plug is so good: it is very, very safe. Tom Scott explains why:

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