Grounding adapters enable electrical appliances to work with wall sockets for which their electrical cords and plugs were not originally designed. The most common type of grounding adapter has female receptacles on one of its ends and male prongs on the other. This allows the plug that comes with any given appliance, including lamps, to be attached to the female end of the adapter and, once the male end is plugged into a wall socket, receive electricity. In common practice, most grounding adapters are used to connect appliances that have three-pronged plugs to wall outlets that can only receive two prongs.

First patented in 1928, grounded plugs can be found on most lamps, fans, and other desktop appliances. Many older lamps, however, were originally built with three-pronged electrical plugs. In order for such pieces to work in rooms that only have two-pronged power outlets, their power chords must be mated to a grounding adapters that can receive three-pronged plugs on one end.

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