There was a company by the name of the Perkins Electric Switch Manufacturing Company that made very high quality pushbutton, toggle, and rotary switches. I'm fortunate enough to have a few in my collection, along with some very nice brass plates (also from an unknown manufacturer). The pushbutton switch was assembled into a very large "boxy" looking porcelain body - it was almost as large as the inside of a single gang box. Fitting the switch, complete with a pair of knob-and-tube wires must have been an interesting experience.
I really enjoy seeing the old switches still in use even though they were installed 75 or more years ago. It is proof that the basic electrical wireing is intended to last the life of the house. I have seen push button sw with an ivory or mother-of-pearl insert in the On button. Alan--
Yeah, old switches are real cool!* Recently I found a rotary switch which probably dates to 1890-1900! It's not a tumbler type, simply a rotating scraper and two brass contacts. Nothing that could possibly break... Porcelaine base (black), brass cover with some kind of brown sleeve inside (maybe very thin bakelite) and bakelite handle. It has a 0 marking for off, a feathered arrow with a sun for both rotating direction and "on"... Some 10 or 15 years ago, our balcony still had the original 1914 rotary switch in place (and it still works, though I took it inside to protect it from the elements).
I always liked those old fashoned push button switches, My Grandparents place had quite a few of them still left, but only one that I can remember had the mother of pearl insert in the "ON" button, which by convention in those days was the lower button, at least around here it was... Just amazes me how equipment manufactured in those days was built to last, with some of it still in use today, and in as good a shape as it was installed. Yet, with equipment manufactured these days, you are lucky if you get a few years out of it before it wears out or burns up...