Archive for January 7th, 2013

Wall Switch Failure

Here’s what happens to a really old wall switch:

Wall Switch - innards

Wall Switch – innards

A closeup of that broken contact:

Wall Switch - detail

Wall Switch – detail

This switch controlled an outlet, so I’m sure it’s hot-switched far too many vacuum cleaners, clothes irons, and suchlike over the last half century or so.

Our house is a bit fancier and originally had top-of-the-line mercury-wetted switches: the contacts sealed in the capsule don’t burn, but the springy supporting structures outside the capsule eventually wear out.

They’re still more reliable than X10 switches, though.