I always try to check for any electrical problems when I head back home to my aunt's place in Pa. This trip, I noticed a hallway 3-way combo that only worked in one of the 2 positions. No big deal to stop at the local store to buy an ivory 3-way and a spare. Then it hit me that it was a rocker, not a toggle, and I'm not sure that I've ever seen one in a store. I don't mean Decora. It is a rocker that takes the same cover plate as a normal toggle. The bad switch is part of a multi-ganged box and it would look pretty bad to have one toggle sticking out amongst the other rockers. Any clues? Joe
I have seen what the OP describes. It is not Despard. I have seen them in houses from the 60's. They look like a toggle if you glance at them from a distance, but they are actually a small rocker switch on the same yoke a toggle uses. I believe they are obsolete. I have thrown many away. Best bet is to change the whole 3 gang to regular toggles or Decora so everything matches.
I'm back in Chicago now and don't plan on heading home again until Thanksgiving week. I think BigB nailed it. My electrical work started in '75 or '76, when the Electrician Mom hired, let me help on our house to save her money. He liked my work so I helped him on jobs after our house was finished. I'm sure I installed hundreds of switches in a couple of years and never any like that. I installed a 3-way dimmer in my aunt's dining room several years ago. If I replaced a regular switch, it might be in a box someplace. The switch at the other entrance to the room should be one of those rockers. If so, its single gang so a toggle will look fine there and I can swap it into the hallway location. I just don't like the idea of moving a 50 year old switch, give or take. Thanks for your input guys and I'll check out that Hubbel number, Ghost. They have a slick Type 703 600VDC contactor that will let-through >30kA, but I haven't checked out any of their residential stuff lately. Joe
I wonder why that type of switch never caught on in the US. In Europe these switches completely replaced toggle switches even before silent toggles really made an appearence. There was a switchover straight from clunky DC-rated toggles to those rockers. Toggles were pretty much out of production by the early 1960s.