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Ceramic Rotary Switch

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The first companies that set up to distribute and popularise electrical lighting in, around, 1880 were faced with convincing potential customers of the benefits of the new clean, instant and cheap source of illumination. Most of these pioneers, Edison included, felt that a light switch that would make the transition from gas lighting to electrical easier for customers to adapt to, was necessary. Customers were intially suspicious of the new 'invisible' power source but a switch that operated in a similar way to their gas tap made the adjustment more comfortable. Hence this rotary switch. It was quickly superceded by the new tumbler switch and then the QMB (Quick Make and Break) a few years later. These are the switches we are familiar with today (see Dolly Switches elsewhere on this site). So, in the UK at least, the Rotary Switch quickly disappeared from the market to be replaced by the newer types but elsewhere this switch was in use for much longer, particularly in the US where it was used on appliances such as cookers for many years and on the Continent where some manufacturers still offer a version of it.

The Rotary Switch measures around 2.5 inches in diameter and around 2.5 inches high.


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