Pushmatic Panels & Breakers – ARE THEY DANGEROUS?

This video covers the history of Pushmatic, ITE, Bulldog, Siemens panels that have been installed around the US for the past half-century. There seems to be a bit of argument out there on whether or not they should be replaced. What do you think?

Pushmatic got it’s start sometime in the early 1900’s, but it is unknown exactly when. There are documents and drawings from Bulldog Electrical from the 30’s that show at least product lines being developed around the Great Depression. When we really see a large boom with these panels is in the 1950’s – most have the word “Pushmatic” on them, as well as tons of panels with the little “Bulldog” logo on the front.

ITE is another name that gets thrown around with both Bulldog and Pushmatic, because like most of these old-school brands, once they started selling they would get bought out and absorbed into larger companies…ultimately Siemens ended up owning all of these products, years down the line.

There’s not a large dramatic story for Pushmatic, like there was with Federal Pacific. Nor was there as high of a failure rate of products like the Zinsco/Challenger lines. There were reported failures in the 80s that started coming out showing that a lot of the breakers would not show correctly whether they were tripped or still energized. Also since these breakers are grease fed, they started to get stiff over time, and became very difficult to push in. One other issue many found was that there was no magnetic trip mechanism, rather only a thermal one. All modern breakers have both a magnetic and thermal trip inside of them to assist with short circuits as well as overloads.