Replaced a light switch in my friends' house in San Francisco yesterday.
House built in the '20s, in what I call "storybook" style (stucco, fake
Switch started to come out easily enough: got the top screw out OK, saw
that the rather large switch was partially plastered over and stuffed
into the barely-large-enough box (this was a big old-school ceramic
switch). But the bottom screw just wouldn't come out. Tried to find the
slot to clean the paint out of it, but couldn't seem to find it no
matter how much I scraped. Dang, looks like there is no slot. WTF???
Turned out to be a NAIL, which I managed to get out after prying under
the head with a screwdriver, then getting a claw hammer in to pull it
out. Minimal cracking to the plaster which will be patched later. Oddly,
I was able to get both screws of the new switch in w/no problem.
My friends' electrician friend (real electrician, license and all) who
came over later said he has seen this a lot. First time I had, though.
This was obviously done when the house was built. Just wondering what
would possess an electrician in those days to drive a nail instead of
using a screw?
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism