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Federal Pacific Electric Stab Lok Panels in a gangFPE Stab-Lok Circuit Breaker History
Complete History of Federal Pacific Electric Co. & FPE Stab Lok electrical panels

  • FPE STAB-LOK HISTORY - CONTENTS: Latest Research & History of Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok® ® Electrical Panels & CIrcuit Breakers - 1950 to present
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about the history and dates of the Federal Pacific Electric Company and the production of FPE Stab-Lok® electrical panels and circuit breakers; also Federal Pioneer.
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Status of FPE Stab-Lok® ® equipment & FPE History:

This document provides citations to latest research & status of FPE Stab-Lok® ® electrical panels & circuit breakers and provides a complete history of the Federal Pacific Electric Company, FPE (1950 to present), giving dates and events which may assist in recognizing Federal Pacific Stab-Lok® Electric Panels & hazards in buildings.

History of FPE Stab-Lok® and related company names including Federal Electric Products Company, Federal Pacific Electric, FPE, Stab-Lok, Federal Noark Electric, McGraw Electric Company, General Electric Corporation, U.V. Industries, Reliance Electric Company, Sharon Steel Company, EXXON Corporation, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Cutler-Hammer Electric, Federal Pacific Equipment, Inc., Pioneer Electric, Federal Pioneer Electric, Schneider Canada Electric, ACBC American Circuit Breaker Corporation, UBI Circuit Breakers, Connecticut Electric, Oregon Breakers, Pacific Coast Breakers (a distributor of ACBC breakers).

Replacement FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breakers are unlikely to reduce the failure risk of this equipment. We recommend that residential FPE Stab-Lok® electrical panels be replaced entirely or the entire panel bus assembly be replaced, regardless of FPE model number or FPE year of manufacture. We do not sell circuit breakers nor any other products. 



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Latest Research & History of Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok® ® Electrical Panels & CIrcuit Breakers

FPE_Patent_US3093773 circuit breaker and panel bus connector design - research InspectApedia.comThe following dates are excerpted from various public documents, all of which can be found at this website:

[Click to enlarge any image]

Illustration of an FPE Stab-Lok type circuit breaker at left is from FPE Patent No. US3093773 applied in 1959, issued 1963. Documents such as patent applications help recreate the product history and variations in company names involved with the FPE Stab-Lok circuit breaker and panelboard design.

2017 Where is the Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok Circuit Breaker Company Today?

Leaving out some steps and omitting (for now) Exxon's role as a successor owner of FPE:

There is currently no "FPE Corporation" to whom consumers can easily presently direct a complaint unless they participated in the New Jersey Class Action.
A separate and currently live corporation, the Federal Pacific Company, owned by the Electro Mechanical Corporation, is not the Federal Pacific Electric Company and is not related to nor a successor of Federal Pacific Electric.

Electro-Mechanical Corporation, purchased the assets of a dry-type transformer facility in Des Plaines, Illinois from a successor to FPE - Challenger Electric [CHALLENGER ELECTRIC PANELS]. In conjunction with that purchase, Electo-Mechanical also acquired the right to use the name Federal Pacific in connection with their products. (federalpacific.com/fpe.html)

An FPE attorney exists, apparently charged with protecting some un liquidated assets and apparently charged with sheltering intermediate owners and corporations (Reliance, Exxon, Challenger, Others) from litigation. His efforts were behind the silly infomercial article that appeared in the IAEI magazine on this issue.

2012 IEEE-published study and later studies confirm the fire hazards from FPE Stab-Lok® ® equipment & call for CPSC action to caution industry & consumers - see the citations below.

New Jersey Class Action lawsuit settled in 2005, homeowner plaintiffs received $500. per panel and institutional plaintiffs received varying amounts. The lawsuit pertained to original homeowners in New Jersey who had an FPE Stab-Lok® electrical panel in their homes. Details are found
at FPE CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT .

There was no FPE product recall in the United States and there is no warranty or replacement program for the equipment. The US CPSC closed its investigation of the product in 1983, though in 2011 the commission issued a clarification statement on that closure (provided just below).

Experts recommend replacement of FPE Stab-Lok elecrical panels in entirety. See the FPE HAZARDS 2012 report and other reports linked-to below.

There are also companies selling "replacement circuit breakers" to fit in FPE Stab-lok electrical panels. It would appear that these products are made in China for re-sale in the U.S. We have no test data supporting any improvements in circuit breaker performance or safety of these products over the original product, no public report of independent testing, and an examination of the current products does not show any apparent design changes. See FPE REPLACEMENT BREAKERS

History of FPE Stab-Lok Circuit Breakers & Replacement Circuit Breakers

ACBC FPE Stab Lok Circuit Breaker at Amazon 2017 at InspectApedia.com2017 new UBI FPE CIRCUIT BREAKER TEST RESULTS of overcurrent tests performed on UBI circuit breakers sold as replacements for FPE Stab-Lok circuit breakers: as of April 2017, testing of nearly 400 UBI circuit breakers show a high failure rate of about 45% - higher than FPE circuit breakers, and significantly-higher than the performance of most other brands and designs of circuit breakers.

Photo: a UBI brand FPE Stab-Lok circuit breaker sold by Connecticut Electric at Amazaon in 2017.

[Click to enlarge any image]

2017 update: at FEDERAL PIONEER PANEL SAFETY we report on a small, limited-sample test results for Canadian-made FP circuit breakers sold also in the U.S. by ACBC.

Independent testing found a 38% no-trip rate (n=24) on the Canadian-sold FP product and a 14% no-trip rate (n=51)on American-sold product ACBC replacement FP-Stab-Lok type circuit breakers. These results sufficiently compelling to suggest that a larger sample test of these circuit breakers is justified.

2014 update: UBI FPE-Stab-Lok circuit breaker replacement unit test results reported in 2014 and later updated through 2017

UBI FPE CIRCUIT BREAKER TEST RESULTS reports that

... testing of 420 UBI circuit breakers show overall a high failure rate of about 42% - higher than FPE circuit breakers, and significantly-higher than the performance of most other brands and designs of circuit breakers. In addtion, two-pole UBI breakers frequently jam after which they will not trip at any level of overcurrent.

2012 FPE Stab-Lok® Hazard Study  (published by IEEE January-February 2012)

FPE HAZARDS - 2012 [PDF] provides the latest version of independent test reports on FPE Stab-Lok electrical equipment, including replacement circuit breakers, including some from your own company

Jesse Aronstein, Ph.D., P.E., and Richard Lowry, Ph.D., "Estimating Fire Losses Associated with FPE Stab-Lok® ® Circuit Breaker Malfunction", IEEE ESW-2011-29, Industry Applications, IEEE Transactions on, Jan.-Feb. 2012, reviewed and accepted for publication and presentation at the IEEE Electrical Safety Workshop, Toronto, January 28, 2011. Retrieved 10/2/2012, original source - IEEE link: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/login.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6074935 &url=http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2 Fxpls%2Fabs_all.jsp%3Farnumber%3D6074935

An updated version of the original paper, possibly available from Dr. Aronstein, identifies the name of the defective circuit breakers - information that was not identified in the published version due to conference rules.

Abstract - A method is presented for connecting small branch circuit breaker functional test data to statistical fire loss data. Test results are presented for field samples of a particular line of circuit breakers that have an abnormally high defect level.

The test results are then utilized in combination with available electrical fire statistics to estimate the annual number of fires and consequent injuries, deaths, and monetary loss associated with the defective breakers. An estimate is then made of the reduction of injury and loss that can be achieved by encouraging replacement of the defective breakers. The role of the electrical safety community in promoting replacement of the defective breakers is discussed.

Comments on the findings of this study can be read at Where is there recently-published data updating findings on the FPE Stab-Lok® ® Hazard?.

2011 US Consumer Product Safety Commission Closes Investigation Of FPE Circuit Breakers And Provides Safety Information For Consumers, REVISED 18 Feb 2011. The original document was revised to include the following warning:

Note: CPSC staff advises electricians, homeowners, home inspectors and real estate agents to read and interpret the following press release carefully. The press release announces that the Commission closed the matter without making a determination as to the safety of FPE circuit breakers or the accuracy of the manufacturer’s position on the matter. The Commission advises consumers to take the safety precautions noted in this notice with all circuit breakers and fuses.

2010 Further testing of electrical panels collected from homes, including FPE Stab-Lok® units, was transferred from Dr. Jess Aronstein to David Carrier, in Poughkeepsie, New York. Briefly Mr. Carrier conducted limited circuit breaker testing of FPE and other brands.

2008 - 2007 FPE Stab-Lok® TECHNICAL REPORT (revised) - an updated, faster-loading copy of the 2007 FPE circuit breaker test report of independent testing (a large 1.2MB PDF file) using a larger pool of FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breakers than the older CPSC and Wright Malta tests found significantly higher failure rates of FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breakers, including a look at critical safety failures (breaker failed to trip at 200% of rated current or jammed) which found up to 80% failure rate for FPE Stab-Lok® GFCI circuit breakers (n=4), 12% failure rate for double pole FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breakers (n=120), and a 1% failure rate for FPE Stab-Lok® single pole circuit breakers (n=345). 

2008 FPE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT RESULTS:

In May 2008 the FPE Class Action Lawsuit in New Jersey was finally settled. New Jersey homeowners who were the original owners of an FPE Stab-Lok® electrical panel received $500. in settlement as part of the action. Institutional class members also got varying amounts, depending on their installations.
No one received the full cost of panel replacement.

Consumer claim forms for this FPE class action settlement are at FPE CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT but had to be filed by April 2005.

New Jersey Judge's Summary Judgment for the Plaintiffs against FPE 8-15-2002 & 29 October 2002 - "FPE violated the Consumer Fraud Act because FPE knowingly and purposefully distributed circuit breakers which were not tested to meet UL Standards as indicated on their label and there is an ascertainable loss for which treble damages are recoverable;" as reported by the Superior Court of New Jersey.

2007 FPE Stab-Lok® TECHNICAL REPORT - an updated test report of independent testing (a large 1.2MB PDF file) using a larger pool of FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breakers than the older CPSC and Wright Malta tests found significantly higher failure rates of FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breakers, including a look at critical safety failures (breaker failed to trip at 200% of rated current or jammed) which found up to 80% failure rate for FPE Stab-Lok® GFCI circuit breakers (n=4), 12% failure rate for double pole FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breakers (n=120), and a 1% failure rate for FPE Stab-Lok® single pole circuit breakers (n=345).

2006: FIFTY FPE FIELD FAILURES REPORTED to US CPSC - 2006 letter from Dr. Jess Aronstein, consulting engineer

2005: 2005 FPE CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT - for homeowners in New Jersey.

ACBC FPE Stab Lok Circuit Breaker at Amazon 2017 at InspectApedia.com ACBC FPE Stab Lok Circuit Breaker at Amazon 2017 at InspectApedia.com

Above: ACBC FPE-Stab-Lok circuit breakers in two pole and single pole versions for sale at Amazon in 2017 - prices range from $80.+ U.S. We do not recommend use of these replacement circuit breakers nor any other FPE Stab-Lok breakers.

25 April 2005 History of Federal Pacific Electric Company: from a trademark dispute court case opinion filed: American Circuit Breaker Corporation [ACBC] v. Oregon Breakers, Inc., and cited below, regarding FPE trademark and products sold in Canada and the U.S. - contents of this ruling include historical data about FPE:

At issue [in this court case] is the sale in the United States of circuit breakers imported from Canada under the trademark STABLOK. In an ironic twist, the circuit breakers are gray. Whether viewed as a gray market case or not, American Circuit Breaker Corporation (“ACBC”) must establish a “likelihood of confusion” to prevail.

The essential facts are undisputed. ACBC holds the STABLOK trademark in the United States. Schneider Canada holds the Stab-Lok® trademark in Canada. Federal Pioneer Limited (“Pioneer”), a subsidiary of Schneider Canada, manufactures circuit breakers for itself and ACBC. The circuit breakers sold by the companies are identical except for the casing color. 

Pioneer manufactures black circuit breakers for ACBC and gray ones for itself. The parties have stipulated that, except for the casing color, there are no material differences between the products, and that the gray circuit breakers are “genuine” versions of the black ones. This dispute arose because Oregon Breakers bought gray circuit breakers from a Canadian third-party supplier and, without permission from ACBC, sold them in the United States.

Historical summary of FPE excerpted from court case cited below: In 1950, Federal Pacific Electric Company (“FPE”) adopted the trademark Stab-Lok® for circuit breakers. FPE eventually sold its U.S. circuit breaker business, including the U.S. Stab-Lok® trademark, to Challenger Electric.

The following historical summary of FPE and related companies is excerpted from this court case cited in detail below:

In 1950, Federal Pacific Electric Company (“FPE”) adopted the trademark Stab-Lok® for circuit breakers. FPE eventually sold its U.S. circuit breaker business, including the U.S. Stab-Lok® trademark, to Challenger Electric.

Since 1950, ACBC American Circuit Breaker Corporation and its predecessors have continuously used the trademark Stab-Lok® on advertising, marketing, and sales of circuit breakers in the United States. ACBC is the record owner of the U.S. mark Stab-Lok® , which was issued in 1988. Under the Lanham Act, the mark is incontestable and ACBC has the exclusive right to use the mark.

In 1950, Federal Pacific Electric Company (“FPE”) adopted the trademark STAB-LOK for circuit breakers.   FPE eventually sold its U.S. circuit breaker business, including the U.S. STAB-LOK trademark, to Challenger Electric.  

In 1988, Challenger Electric sold the circuit breaker portion of its business to ACBC's predecessor, which in turn assigned all of its rights in the business and trademark to Provident Industries, Inc. Provident Industries, Inc. changed its corporate name to American Circuit Breaker Corporation in late 1988.

Since 1950, ACBC and its predecessors have continuously used the trademark STAB-LOK on advertising, marketing, and sales of circuit breakers in the United States. ACBC is the record owner of the U.S. mark STAB-LOK, which was issued in 1988.   Under the Lanham Act, the mark is incontestable and ACBC has the exclusive right to use the mark. See Entrepreneur Media, Inc. v. Smith, 279 F.3d 1135, 1139 n. 1 (9th Cir.2002) (citing 15 U.S.C. §§ 1065, 1115(b)).

In 1952, Federal Electric Products Company, a U.S. company that was later merged into FPE, registered the trademark STAB-LOK in Canada.   Until 1988, Pioneer [Electric], the manufacturer of the gray circuit breakers, was a Canadian subsidiary of FPE. The Canadian registration of STAB-LOK was assigned to Pioneer in 1986.

In 1988, FPE sold Pioneer to a Canadian company that had no relationship to Challenger Electric or any other predecessor of ACBC. In 1999, Pioneer assigned the Canadian trademark STAB-LOK to its parent company, Schneider Canada.

Prior to 1993, ACBC manufactured black STAB-LOK circuit breakers for the U.S. market at its plant in Albemarle, North Carolina, and Pioneer manufactured in Canada gray STAB-LOK circuit breakers for the Canadian market. Following an intellectual property dispute in the early 1990s, ACBC entered into an agreement with Pioneer and Schneider Canada.

Part of the dispute centered around Pioneer's claim that it had acquired rights to market under the STAB-LOK mark in the United States, as well as Canada. Although the details of the settlement agreement are confidential, the parties reveal the key elements in their briefs.

Under the agreement, Pioneer manufactures black STAB-LOK circuit breakers for ACBC for sale in the United States and ACBC has agreed to purchase guaranteed minimums from Pioneer. Pioneer continues to manufacture gray S2005 court TAB-LOK circuit breakers for sale in Canada by Pioneer. The agreement forbids Pioneer from selling its STAB-LOK circuit breakers in the United States for the term of the agreement. The effect of the agreement is that, although ACBC originally acquired its U.S. rights in the STAB-LOK mark from Challenger Electric, a U.S. company, ACBC's exclusivity of those trademark rights came about through the deal it struck with Pioneer, a Canadian company.

Accordingly, since 1993, both black and gray circuit breakers have been manufactured by Pioneer in Canada and both bear the STAB-LOK trademark, as well as an indication that “Federal Pioneer Limited” is the manufacturer and that the breakers are manufactured in Canada. The parties agree that there are no material differences between ACBC's black STAB-LOK circuit breakers and the gray STAB-LOK circuit breakers. Finally, the agreement provides that ACBC will assign its rights in the trademark STAB-LOK to Pioneer at the conclusion of the agreement.

From 1997 to 2000, Oregon Breakers sold gray Pioneer-manufactured STAB-LOK circuit breakers in the United States. Oregon Breakers purchased the circuit breakers from Merchant Pier, a Canadian distributor of circuit breakers and imported them into the United States for resale.

2004 FPE Stab-Lok® TECHNICAL REPORT - St. Louis ASHI Seminar including: Hazard Summary & Independent Tests confirms Stab-Lok® failures. This article is a comprehensive survey of the FPE Hazard, its history, the issues, and recommended repair: replacement of the FPE Stab-Lok® panel.

2004 FPE Update: Exxon Buys a Scandal Along With A Company Business Week Article 7/21/80 now available on line

2004: 21 February 2004: Update of ongoing FPE Failure testing reported to ASHI - American Society of Home Inspectors [this topic has been reported to ASHI previously and has been addressed at ASHI conferences and seminars.

2004 Federal Pioneer & Square-D Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter Safety Notice

FPE Stab-Lok® TECHNICAL REPORT UPDATES - Testing Update paper presented for the St. Louis ASHI chapter by Dr. Jess Aronstein, reporting on updated FPE Stab-Lok® electrical panel circuit breakers in independent testing and commented on various tests and circuit breaker models including:

Tests of field samples of circuit breakers from 17 homes:

This most recent testing of field samples has provided data on FPE single-pole Stab-Lok® ® breakers.  No test results data on these had previously been available.  The failure rate among the 215 single-pole units tested (including the combination GFI type) was 14%.  One of the 1/2-width single-pole breakers jammed with the contacts closed, as did two of the GFI types.

The recent testing has also provided data on the 1/2-width double-pole  FPE Stab-Lok® ® breakers, which also had not been previously available.  The data shows no significant difference between the 1/2-width and full-width double pole breakers.  Overall, among all of the 31 two-pole breakers tested to date from these 17 panels,  the failure rate was 48%, and six of them (21%) jammed with contact(s) closed.

The results of the recent testing clearly demonstrate that the circuit breaker problems are not restricted to the full-width two-pole breakers that were the focus of the CPSC investigation.  The problems extend across the full Stab-Lok® ® circuit breaker line, including the combined breaker/GFI type.

FPE Stab-Lok® combination breaker/GFI:

Three FPE Stab-Lok® ® breaker/GFI units were among the field samples tested.  Two of them failed.  This is not surprising, since the breaker/GFI design is based on the 1/2-width two-pole breaker, which is prone to jamming due to the common-trip mechanism.  The single-pole breaker/GFI is essentially a double-pole breaker with one side actuated by a special circuit that reacts to a small (5 milliamp) difference in current between the line and neutral conductors passing through it.  When the common trip mechanism causes a jam, it defeats both the circuit breaker and GFI functions.  Two of the three units tested jammed.  While the sample size is not large, it is nevertheless significant because it was a truly random sample.  The three units tested were from different panels in different parts of the country.

A previous sample can be added: a field failure in which an FPE Stab-Lok® ® breaker/GFI "protected" a lighting circuit in which a short circuit occurred between a switch and its grounded metal cover plate.  The event, which resulted in a serious injury, formed a relatively large globule of melted brass at the point of arcing.  The melting could not have happened if the breaker/GFI had opened the circuit at the milliamp level of current flow. That  FPE Stab-Lok® ® breaker/GFI was subsequently tested and was definitely determined to be defective.  Altogether, including this previous sample, I have crossed paths with four FPE Stab-Lok® ® breaker/GFI units, three of which were defective.

"Non-FPE" Stab-Lok® circuit breakers:

Since the end of manufacturing of circuit breakers under the Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) brand, compatible Stab-Lok® ® type breakers have appeared under names such as "American", "Federal Pioneer", "Challenger", "Federal Pacific Reliance Electric", and "Federal Pioneer Limited" (Canada). There is no data available at this time on which to base a sound judgment as to their reliability relative to the FPE breakers.  In many instances, these are essentially the same product as FPE.  Whether or not any substantive changes in design or manufacturing were made to solve the known problems associated with the original FPE Stab-Lok® ®  breakers is not known.

2003 Federal Pacific Electric Breakers [PDF] - an encyclopedic, non-prioritized inventory of FPE StabLok deficiencies by Douglas Hansen working with CodeCheck.com. CodeCheck [www.codecheck.com] offers building code inspection guides for field use, and links on codes and failures.

Note: in 2012 Douglas Hansen & Redwood Karden published an updated version [PDF] of this article. See http://www.codecheck.com/cc/ccimages/PDFs/FPE_2012.pdf

2002: FPE Class Action Lawsuit Results - 2002: New Jersey Judge's Summary Judgment for the Plaintiffs against FPE 8-15-2002 & 29 October 2002 - "FPE violated the Consumer Fraud Act because FPE knowingly and purposefully distributed circuit breakers which were not tested to meet UL Standards as indicated on their label and there is an ascertainable loss for which treble damages are recoverable;" as reported by the Superior Court of New Jersey. [Note: only very limited recovery rights were granted to homeowners and only in New Jersey. The case may still be under appeal as of January 2007].

2000:FPE breaker failures on test2000 FPE breakers fail in lab test of field-supplied panel 10/00

From 1997 to 2000, Oregon Breakers sold gray Pioneer manufactured Stab-Lok® circuit breakers in the United States. Oregon Breakers purchased the circuit breakers from Merchant Pier, a Canadian distributor of circuit breakers and imported them into the United States for resale.

Source: United States Court of Appeals, American Circuit Breaker Corporation v. Oregon Breakers Inc., No. 03-35375 D.C. No. CV-01-00308-DCA Opinion by Judge McKeown, filed April 25, 2005

FPE breaker failures on test2000 FPE breakers fail (photos) in lab test of field-supplied panel 10/00

FPE bus burn-up under breakers1999 FPE Failures continue: FPE breaker fails, results in fire: field failure reports can be read

1999: May 1999 :FPE Stab Lok Website author converses with Schneider Electric re: Federal Pioneer Equipment - further data not forthcoming.

December 1999: Ohio FPE Stab-Lok® failure-caused panel-fire documented at the website.

June 1999: IAEI International Association of Electrical Inspectors publishes anonymously and disclaimed, an article [penned by a previous FPE employee] - stating that there have never been failure, safety, or other issues with FPE Stab-Lok® equipment. OUR REPLY disagreed and cited authoritative data found here along with follow up notes

1997: 14 October 1997: Ontario Canada Home Warranty Program issues a warning regarding Canadian Federal Pioneer [Canadian version of FPE Stab-Lok® ] equipment provided by Schneider Electric if made in 1996 and 1997, and announces a recall program for Canadians. 1997 Schneider Canada Federal Pioneer circuit breaker recall, Schneider Canada Federal Pioneer circuit breaker recall British Columbia Fire Commissioner's Notice and Warning, and Federal Pioneer breaker recall notice from the Canadian Electrical Safety Authority

FPE NC015 circuit breaker recall

 

1996: 1996-1997 Federal Pioneer NCO15 and NC015CP circuit breaker recalls from Schneider Electric in Canada are newer products than the earlier FPE Stab-Lok® design

1995 Federal Pacific Electric Panels: Fires Waiting to Happen, Debate Waiting to Be Ended. Opinion article by DJF.

1995: 11 October 1995: The FPE Stab-Lok® Website created by DJ Friedman as a consumer information and electrical product failure research project.

1995: In February 1995 Cutler Hammer decided to close the FPE Switchgear facility (see history for 1986, below) and the president started his own company, Federal Pacific Equipment, Inc., hiring the FPE Employees.

1993: Prior to 1993, ACBC (American Circuit Breaker Corporation) manufactured black Stab-Lok® circuit breakers for the U.S. market at its plant in Albemarle, North Carolina, and Pioneer manufactured in Canada gray Stab-Lok® circuit breakers for the Canadian market. Following an intellectual property dispute in the early 1990s, ACBC entered into an agreement with Pioneer and Schneider Canada.

Part of the dispute [in the legal case cited below and from which this history is drawn] centered around Pioneer’s claim that it had acquired rights to market under the Stab-Lok® mark in the United States, as well as Canada. Although the details of the settlement agreement are confidential, the parties reveal the key elements in their briefs.

Under the agreement, Pioneer manufactures black Stab-Lok® circuit breakers for ACBC for sale in the United States and ACBC has agreed to purchase guaranteed minimums from Pioneer.

Pioneer continues [2005] to manufacture gray Stab-Lok® circuit breakers for sale in Canada by Pioneer. The agreement forbids Pioneer from selling its Stab-Lok® circuit breakers in the United States for the term of the agreement. The effect of the agreement is that, although ACBC originally acquired its U.S. rights in the Stab-Lok® mark from Challenger Electric, a U.S. company, ACBC’s exclusivity of those trademark rights came about through the deal it struck with Pioneer, a Canadian company.

Accordingly, since 1993, both black and gray circuit breakers have been manufactured by Pioneer in Canada and both bear the Stab-Lok® trademark, as well as an indication that “Federal Pioneer Limited” is the manufacturer and that the breakers are manufactured in Canada. The parties agree that there are no material differences between ACBC’s black Stab-Lok® circuit breakers and the gray Stab-Lok® circuit breakers. Finally, the agreement provides that ACBC will assign its rights in the trademark Stab-Lok® to Pioneer at the conclusion of the agreement.

Source: United States Court of Appeals, American Circuit Breaker Corporation v. Oregon Breakers Inc., No. 03-35375 D.C. No. CV-01-00308-DCA Opinion by Judge McKeown, filed April 25, 2005

1988: In 1950, Federal Pacific Electric Company (“FPE”) adopted the trademark Stab-Lok® for circuit breakers. FPE eventually sold its U.S. circuit breaker business, including the U.S. Stab-Lok® trademark, to Challenger Electric. In 1988, Challenger Electric sold the circuit breaker portion of its business to ACBC’s predecessor, which in turn assigned all of its rights in the business and trademark to Provident Industries, Inc. Provident Industries, Inc. changed its corporate name to American Circuit Breaker Corporation in late 1988.

Until 1988, Pioneer, the manufacturer of the gray circuit breakers, was a Canadian subsidiary of FPE. The Canadian registration of Stab-Lok® was assigned to Pioneer in 1986.

In 1988, FPE sold Pioneer to a Canadian company that had no relationship to Challenger Electric or any other predecessor of ACBC. In 1999, Pioneer assigned the Canadian trademark Stab-Lok® to its parent company, Schneider Canada.

Source: United States Court of Appeals, American Circuit Breaker Corporation v. Oregon Breakers Inc., No. 03-35375 D.C. No. CV-01-00308-DCA Opinion by Judge McKeown, filed April 25, 2005

[Un-dated] Two other FPE related events, estimated to have occurred in this time frame are listed just below.

Electro-Mechanical Corporation, purchased the assets of a dry-type transformer facility from Challenger and in conjunction with that purchase, acquired the right to use the name Federal Pacific in connection with their products, excluding Stab-Lok® circuit breaker products.

HC Zang Agency in Buffalo, NY says that "Federal Pacific Company and Federal Pacific Transformer Company of Bristol, Virginia are in no way related to the old Federal Pacific Electric (FPE)" and offers to answer questions about the old equipment.

1986 Challenger Electric Equipment Corporation acquired (some of the assets of) FPE from Reliance Electric in July 1986.

The FPE Switchgear Plant in Newark, NJ was moved to Linden, NJ and was changed to the production of after-market electrical products. The FPE Switchgear Plant was sold to Westinghouse Electric Corporation and subsequently to Cutler-Hammer Electric.

In February 1995 Cutler Hammer decided to close the above facility and started his own company, Federal Pacific Equipment, Inc. As of a 2010 view of his website, Mr. John Cifrodella reports that he was and continued to serve as plant manager, purchasing all of the FPE inventory, subsequently starting his own company, Federal Pacific Equipment, Inc. of which he, Mr. Cifrodella, serves as president. Mr. Cifrodella indicates that he "... hired the experienced Federal Pacific Co employees."

The Federal Pacific Equipment Corporation is located in Brick New Jersey and according to Mr. Cifrodella, they supply components for Federal Pacific Electric company equipment. [www.fpeparts.com/pages/history.html] - Mr. Cifrodella's website refers to circuit breakers for FPE, Sylvania, Challenger, Zinsco, and Cutler Hammer. We have not requested nor obtained related test data, information about changes in product design, product listing, etc. as of 08/03/2010.

1983: 1983 CPSC Investigation of FPE Circuit Breakers Safety Information for Consumers

(Aronstein) provides report of independent testing and failures of FPE Stab-Lok® breakers. 1983 CPSC Investigation of FPE Circuit Breakers Safety Information for Consumers

CPSC management halts testing of FPE Breakers, citing high costs of continuing the project. The announcement does not exonerate the product and includes generic warnings to consumers.

1982: "Status Report - Evaluation of Residential Molded Case Circuit Breakers", Wright-Malta Corp., (For U.S. Consumer product Safety Commission, Project# CPSC-C-81-1455), August 10, 1982 (Contains analysis of mechanism of failure of FPE two-pole Stab-Lock breakers.) Additional 1982 FPE Stab-Lok® reports are listed below.

1982: 31 March 1982: Reliance Electric Financial Statements acknowledge that FPE previously obtained UL Listings by fraudulent means and that at "some point thereafter, lost their UL listing."

1982 Reliance Electric Co. SEC Quarterly Report: Note C. reports litigation between Reliance and UV Liquidating Trust and contends that "... improper and deceptive practices were employed for many years to secure UL listings for Federal Pacific's circuit protective products..."

1982 CPSC Calibration and Condition Tests of Molded Case Circuit Breakers, Final Report December 30, 1982, summary pages, indicating failure rates found for FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breakers

1981: 17 February 1981: Federal Pacific announced that it would voluntarily replace or field modify certain models of its [predominantly commercial and industrial] molded case circuit breaker line. [No FPE recall was issued, no FPE field repair was offered for residential equipment.] Funds were set aside for this replacement [but may not have been expended.]

1980: June 1980, Reliance Electric and FPE brought suit against UV Industries [a liquidating trust which previously handled the assets of the bankrupt FPE company.] for damages of $345 million or for rescission of the previous sale by UV of the FPE line to Reliance, referring to deceptive practices which went on for years on obtaining UL listing for FPE products.

5 July 1980: Reliance Electric stopped shipping FPE Stab-Lok® equipment on or about July 5, 1980. Keep in mind that equipment in the pipeline in supply houses was never recalled, so homes built considerably after that date may still have an FPE Stab-Lok® panel installed.

1980 FPE - Exxon Buys A Scandal Along With A Companyimproper practices used to obtain UL Listing for most of FPE's circuit breakers and notes testing which indicates "possible defects." 1980, Reliance Electric Co.

21 July 1980: Business Week magazine reports on FPE/Reliance Electric scandal. Exxon Buys a Scandal Along With A Company Business Week Article 7/21/80 now available on line.

Lawsuit filed 26 June 1980 charges the Federal Pacific Electric Company of having employed "materially deceptive and improper manufacturing, testing, and certification practices" in production of one of the nation's most widely-used circuit breakers [the FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breaker]

September 1980: Reliance Electric brought legal action against Sharon Steel Company which had assumed the liabilities of UV Liquidation.

1980 Reliance Electric Co. Press Release: improper practices used to obtain UL Listing for most of FPE's circuit breakers and notes testing which indicates "possible defects." 1980, Reliance Electric Co. "It appears that Underwriters Laboratories labels for most of FPE's circuit breakers were obtained through improper practices", a Reliance spokesperson said. Shipments of the product were stopped on or about 5 July 1980.

UL's de-listing of nearly 400 circuit breaker labels started the legal process. By May 1980 it became obvious that the real problem was "deception" that occurred over a long period of years. Reliance Electric suspended without pay Federal Pacific Electric President Harry E. Knudson, Jr. (Watchung, N.J.) and four other key Federal Pacific Electric executives.

1979 Reliance Electric acquired the [bankrupt] Federal Pacific Electric Company from UV Industries.

FPE_Patent_US3093773 panelboard sketch - research: InspectApedia.com1964 Federal Pacific Electric Company joined with Westinghouse Electric, Allis-Chalmers, I-T-E, General Electric Company as appellants v. Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Ohio Brass Company v. Southern California Edison Company, in the United States Court of Appeals, 96h Circuit, January 6, 1964, as "several of the vast number of civil anti-trust suits commenced against a number of manufacturers of electric products as an aftermath of the Government's criminal prosecutions in Philadelphia.

They are here on appeal from interlocutory orders of the district court." cf: 326 F.2d 575, January 6, 1964 (Loeb & Loeb, Alfred I. Rothman, John L. Cole, and Robert A. Holtzman, Los Angeles, Cal., for appellant Federal Pacific Elec. Co.

1960: Circuit Breaker with Plug In Terminals, FPE Patent application from 19 January 1953 was granted 21 January 1960, US Patent 2,921,240, to Thomas M. Cole, Harrison, NY. assignor to Federal Pacific Electric Company, Newark, NJ, a corporation of Delaware.

"The subject matter of the present application is related also to the copending application of myself and Paul M. Christensen, filed November 15, 1949, and which issued as Patent No. 2,647,225 on July 28, 1953, said patent disclosing and claiming a panel board con struction for mounting in side-by-side disposition circuit ybreakers which are substantially of the same width."

1959: FPE Patent application filed (patent not issued until 1963), U.S. Patent No. 3,093,773, Panelboard with Circuit Protective Devices, Thomas M. Cole, Harrison, NY., assignor to Federal Pacific Electric Co., a corporation of Delaware, filed Mar 23 1959, Ser. No. 801,349, cites "The Magic E", publication, Federal Noark, Catalog 1000 A, July 1953, The Federal Pacifc Electric Co.. [probably refers to the Stab-Lok E-bus design - ed.] This patent describes a combination electrical panelboard using both cartridge fuses and stab-lok circuit breakers - shown at above left.

1956: According to some writers, during this era (but probably later than this year) McGraw Electric purchased part of the product lines from the Federal Pacific Electric Company. [We have not substantiated this detail -DF]

1953: patent granted to Federal Noark (research for patent document is ongoing) - referred to in 1959: a U.S. Patent No. 2,910,630 Circuit Breaker Panelboard was granted to Hammersly and assigned to GE made reference to " OTHER REFERENCES Federal Noark Catalog 1000A, July 1953, " ( Hammerly, Herman J. "Circuit breaker panelboard." U.S. Patent 2,910,630, issued October 27, 1959.) This citation appears in other patent applications as well, such as John, Michael J. St. "Sequence bus panelboard." U.S. Patent 2,997,628, issued August 22, 1961. Park, Lakeside. "Panel board and circuit breaker combination." U.S. Patent 3,089,063, issued May 7, 1963. Kingdon, Ralph H. "KINGDON." U.S. Patent 3,105,173, issued September 24, 1963.)

Reference patent citations for FPE Patent US 2,647,225, July 1953 - research InspectApedia.com

1952: U.S. Patent No. 2,599,695, 10 June 1952, to Paul M. Christensen and assigned to Federal Pacific Electric Company, Newark N.J., a corporation of Delaware. "In said patent provision is made for mounting a plurality of circuit breakers, all of which are substantially of the same width, in side-by-side disposition on a mounting pan."

1952: In 1952, Federal Electric Products Company, a U.S. company that was later merged into FPE, registered the trademark Stab-Lok® in Canada.

1950: FPE adopted the trademark "Stab-Lok® " . Source: United States Court of Appeals, American Circuit Breaker Corporation v. Oregon Breakers Inc., No. 03-35375 D.C. No. CV-01-00308-DCA Opinion by Judge McKeown, filed April 25, 2005. American Circuit Breaker Company is also referred to in some literature as ACBC.

1949: FPE patent filed 15 November 1949, issued as Patent No. 2,647,225, on 28 July 1953, Terminal Patent Assembly, disclosing and claiming a panel board consitruction for mounting side by side disposition circuit breakers which are substantially the same width. - Cole, Thomas M. "Terminal panel assembly." U.S. Patent No. 2,647,225. 28 Jul. 1953. This patent is referred to later in US Patent 2,921,240, Jan 1960 (described above). The citations for this 1949 patent extend back to 5 December 1933, Emyrs M. Williams, Akron Ohio US patent No. 1,938,309 which described a flush-type electrical outlet or switch.

...


Continue reading at FPE FRAUD Stab-Lok® SEC REPORT or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see CHALLENGER ELECTRIC PANELS

Or see FEDERAL PACIFIC FPE HAZARDS - home

Or see FEDERAL PIONEER PANEL SAFETY

Or see UBI FPE CIRCUIT BREAKER TEST RESULTS

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FPE STAB-LOK HISTORY at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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