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#151742 - 05/04/03 07:00 PM Old Fittings and Switches
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Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3152
Loc: NY, USA

This is a picture of the fitting that would fit on the end of a piece of BX wire. You would seperate the phase wire from the neutral wire and it acted just like a weatherhead on the end of a service cable. Then you would attach your phase wire to a knob and tube (K&T) phase leg and solder it, wrap it with rubber tape, then with friction tape.
This shows a K&T switch that has an ON/OFF window so that you can see if the switch was on or off. This switch could also be used on BX wiring. It usually mounted on a 3" or 4" round box. The back plates were different. It was usually mounted in basements, tops of basement stairs, etc. It wasn't very decorative.
Surface Switch; It mounted on the wall and the K&T wiring would pass through this round switch. This particular switch was for a high, med, and low application.

- Harold Endean
Thanks Harold

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#151743 - 05/05/03 06:48 AM Re: Old Fittings and Switches
mamills Offline

Registered: 11/30/01
Posts: 739
Loc: Wharton, Texas, USA
Good Morning Harold:
Thanks for the pix! I remember seeing an old rotary switch (pic No. 3) exactly like this, just inside the door to the boiler room in my aunt's house about 25 years ago. It had a hand-lettered sign thumbtacked next to it, labelled "oil burner switch" (or something like that). I assume this must have been some sort of emergency shut-off in case the burner got out of hand...? I have a number of these old rotary switches in my collection of vintage electrical devices.

I have seen switches of the type shown in pic. no. 4 for sale on eBay at various times. Do you know if this kind of switch was used to control lights, or could it have been used for something like an electric hot plate element?

Mike (mamills)

#151744 - 05/05/03 08:32 AM Re: Old Fittings and Switches
classicsat Offline

Registered: 11/23/02
Posts: 449
Actually, the latter switch may have come from an electric kitchen range.

#151745 - 05/05/03 08:48 AM Re: Old Fittings and Switches
SvenNYC Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1685
Loc: New York City
Sure looks like it came from a stove.

I have a Diamond-H rotary surface-mount wall switch with a brass cover. Found it in a salvage shop for $5 about two or three years ago.

Facinating device and very elegant...and it's still in working condition, although I wouldn't want to hook it up nowadays!

P.S. Harold, thanks for explaining how the "monkeyface" is used!

[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 05-05-2003).]

#151746 - 05/05/03 06:36 PM Re: Old Fittings and Switches
harold endean Offline

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2248
Loc: Boonton, NJ
Fortunately ( or maybe UNfortunately ) I have seen all of these devices installed and working and I had to either repair them or replace them. (Most times we would try to get rid of all the old parts.) I wish I had pictures of these pieces installed, but you just have to settle for the device only. That HI-MED-LOW switch came from a an old "whole house" fan. You know the large type of fans that are installed in the ceiling and cool the house down. I have some more old pictures that I am uploading soon. I will try to get more pictures of the front and backs of devices and post them too.


#151747 - 05/06/03 12:25 PM Re: Old Fittings and Switches
pauluk Offline

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
In those BX-to-K&T couplers, is the top with the conductor holes metal? If so, I wonder if there was any concern over circulating currents caused by induction.

#151748 - 05/07/03 05:33 PM Re: Old Fittings and Switches
harold endean Offline

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2248
Loc: Boonton, NJ

The top of the BX/KT fitting is plastic. Just like on a service head. There wouldn't be any induction problems.


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