From a 1946 'Luchard, Paris' air compressor, now being renovated.
These pics are of the original 3 phase toggle switch, used as a direct-on-line starter for the induction motor. Best guess is the motor is around 1 hp, (the motor plate doesn't say). As you can see, the construction is crude, but even after nearly 60 years, it works perfectly. Economy with materials was essential then; the date stamped on the receiver, ( 2. 20. 46), is only 10 months after the Liberation of Paris. This unit was probably built along with the motor in Orleans. The motor company; Cie Generale d' Electricite, Ateliers (workshops) d'Orleans.

Pic 1: Construction mainly of resin bonded paper/cloth, ('Paxolin' 'Tufnol' ?) and bakelite or vulcanised rubber, mounted to a thin iron chassis . The original operating knob is missing:

Pic 2: Wipers, rotor and contacts with spring snap open mechanism. The pillars are bakelite/vulcanite:

Pic 3: Partial dissassembly, showing the 3 rotors separated by cardboard dividers:

Pic 4: Further dissassembly, showing the wipers, contacts and rotors. The terminals are hollow brass with iron screws to clamp the wires ( more economy) . There is evidence of arcing on one wiper, and this may be why the unit had been replaced by a modern 'Telemechanique' starter:

Pic 5: The original outer plate, made of 3/16" Bakelite. This fixed the unit into a housing cast into the motor body. The green paint is not original, ( it is also splashed onto the new starter). There is a very small possibility of markings under the paint- I will take it off carefully to see:

I want to have this machine running for shop use, (I'm not interested in static museum-pieces), but on the other hand I like to retain original features in old machines. I'll renovate the switch and plate and replace it as a dummy for future reference.
I'll post more pics of this compressor project as it procedes, but right now I have to make some tables for a new swanky hotel bar a French friend is opening in July, so it'll be some weeks yet!.

Pictures and information submitted by Alan Belson.