What ever happened to Push Button light switches?

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When I was very young, a lot of the old homes had those push button light switches. The top button was ON, bottom was OFF. They were usually black and white, while some had a pearl inlay on the bottons. I remember being fascinated by them at Grandma's house, since my parents house built in 1952 had the modern (rather boring) switches we all have today.
I also recall some rotary switches that were rather nice, except may of those were downright dangerous since the actual 120V wires were on EXPOSED screws (or did they come with covers that fell off over time?) Those were always connected to knob & tube wiring systems, so it's pretty apparent why they vanished with time.
Today, all light switches are pretty much the same, and lack any artistic qualities. Yea, there are rocker switches available, but they are no more interesting than the standard flip switches.
Homes in general have lost the old artistic qualities. I recall all the fancy carvings around the gables, which was usually called "gingerbread". Today's homes are all pretty much the same box construction, with little uniqueness or artistic quality. Either people have lost "taste" or they are just too busy with work and politics and thier facebook accounts to give a damn about making their homes unique and creative. It's a real shame, and I miss all of that, and I miss those push button switches, and the sounds of coal fired boilers clanking in the heavy iron pipes and radiators, and the smell of homemade bread and cookies, back when people still baked at home.
But they call it progress. Now we have computers, where everyone can go on facebook and find out exactly what time our neighbors took a shit, and which ones were arrested last night and which are getting a divorce. They call it progress, but I sure cant see what has progressed.... In fact, I think we have all taken a step backwards and resorted back to our primate origins, where we no longer have any creativity, but we will continue to decline as a species until we live only to destroy. Destroy everything from the past, and destroy each other!
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On Monday, April 4, 2016 at 3:47:01 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wrote:

It's not just homes that lost the artistic qualities; compare a modern box- like skyscraper to an ornate medieval cathedral. My theory is that in olden times it took a lot of skill and effort to produce the gingerbread for a h ouse or the gargoyles on a cathedral, where now we can mass produce such th ings very quickly and cheaply, so their value is lost. Sort of like how a d iamond necklace makes a lady look sophisticated and stylish but twenty poun ds of rhinestone accessories don't.
Paul
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Ok. Let's look at an ornate medieval cathedral. Notre Dame is a good start. First cornerstone was laid in 1163. Final elements were completed in 1345 (almost two hundred years later).
Winchester Cathedral was started in 1079, consecrated in 1093 and work continued for decades thereafter.
St. Paul's was started in 1670 and completed in 1711, but construction continued for years afterwords.
Meanwhile, one world trade center was started in 2006 and finished in 2014, without the cheap labor available a millenia ago (and the original world trade center tower was built in four years).
Apples != Oranges. You get what you pay for.
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wrote:

One of my good friends just replaced all the gingerbread on his "southwestern Ontario Farmhouse" with laser cut powdercoated 3/8" thick aluminum plate. Looks fantastic and he'll never have to scrape it, paint it, or repair it again in his lifetime (or his daighter's, wh is taking over the farm)
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On 04/04/2016 12:46 AM, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wrote:

Do you miss the trips to the cellar at 3 AM to stoke up the coal furnace?
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On 4/4/2016 10:05 AM, rbowman wrote:

And be sure to remember to poke a hole in it!
One time I visited a friend who had a wood burning stove. The 3 AM waking cold to throw more Readers Digest condensed books in, that was memorable.
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Christopher A. Young
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On Mon, 4 Apr 2016 10:14:47 -0400, Stormin Mormon

??

Condensed books are good fuel. They have much higher heat content than uncondensed books.
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On Monday, April 4, 2016 at 2:09:38 PM UTC-5, Micky wrote:

...you two belong together...maybe an apartment?
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On 4/4/2016 3:09 PM, Micky wrote:

CY: In the old days of coal stoves, the operator would shovel a bunch of coal into the stove. It was necessray to then take a pointed rod and "poke a hole in it" or the coal dust would build up. The pile of burning could would explode with a bang, and wake up the people up stairs. So, the reminder to the boy "be sure to poke a hole in it". I was told this by my father. When he was a boy, he was the coal shovel person for the house.

CY: I've found they have less heat than hardwood. But, that doesn't surprise me. I had a good fire going one time with shelled corn. Needed a lot of draft, that corn tended to make smoke explosions.
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On Monday, April 4, 2016 at 10:05:49 AM UTC-4, rbowman wrote:

I have some friends that bought a nicely remodeled farm house. Most of the old charm was still intact. The living room/dining area was one big space. They had a coal burning stove in the dining area and a wood burning fireplace in the living room. They were slaves to the coal stove because it had to be stoked 3 times a day.
The first Christmas in the house, they threw a big party. They built a huge fire in the fireplace and opened the glass doors so we could all enjoy the view. As the evening went on, the house was getting colder and colder. The owner checked the coal stove and temperature was way down. In an effort to determine the problem, he opened the door on the stove.
He, and the entire dining area, were immediately covered in ash and dust.
As it turned out, the fire in the fireplace was drafting so much that it was pulling air down the chimney of the coal stove, slowly putting out the coal. When the door was opened, a huge gust of air came down the chimney and blew ashes everywhere.
At first it was a shock, then it was hilarious, then it was a good old fashioned "Amish barn raising" as we all helped clean up the mess.
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On 4/4/2016 10:49 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

One time when I was helping install a furnace, the family had a fire in the fireplace. Problem was, the make up air came down the funace flue, which must have been right in the chimney. The acrid smoke coming down the flue nearly drove me out of the cellar. I opened a cellar window and put a bag and rubber bands around the flue pipe, which helped a lot.
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On 04/04/2016 09:05 AM, rbowman wrote:

I've known people who had coal furnaces when they were kids...but I never had to deal with that.
As to those old push-button switches...my house was wired in 1932 and still has a few. I like to keep the old look so found a place on-line that can supply new ones which are almost identical to the originals.
Concerning the rotary type switch, I have never seen one in the US. but when I was stationed in Germany our barracks were former German WWII vintage...and did have rotary switches.
It was kind of a creepy feeling at first to be staying there.
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On Monday, April 4, 2016 at 10:58:10 AM UTC-5, philo wrote:

We had one in the barn (Central WI) about 20 yrs ago. Very cool...one click on, another click off, clock-wise only.
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On 4/4/2016 7:05 AM, rbowman wrote:

My in-laws place was heater with coal-fired hot water. But, they had an automatic stoker so you just had to ensure the "tender" was full. Messier than all hell! Coal dust EVERYWHERE!
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On Monday, April 4, 2016 at 3:47:01 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wrote:

Push button switches make noise and are hard to operate when your hands are full. I can flip a switch with a cup of coffee or a laundry basket.
When I moved into my first apartment, I replaced all of the old toggle switches that made that loud "clack" with silent ones. (I put the old ones back when I moved out 3 years later)
Gingerbread looks nice until it needs to be painted. Then all that "artistic quality" suddenly becomes a time consuming, labor intensive PITA.
Coal can be dirty, ashes need to be cleaned out, you can't let the fire go out.
We still bake bread and cookies at home - from scratch, not from boxed mixes. How about you, do you bake?
Does your house have push button switches, gingerbread trim or clanging radiators? They are all still available if you want them.
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On Monday, April 4, 2016 at 10:28:54 AM UTC-4, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Years ago we rented a house with push button switches.
The landlord had Parkinson's. It took him multiple stabs to hit that pushbutton and was painful to watch. Of course a toggle wouldn't have been easy either, but better than the button.
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On 4/4/2016 10:28 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

There seems to be a renewal of properly painting it on the older homes around here. Thirty years ago everything was just painted white, but now many of the Victorian homes have multi colors like they did back than. I appreciate the effort people are putting into it. Fortunately, my house built in 1978 has none of it.

I partly heated with a wood burning stove until about a dozen years ago. These days I find it easier to write a check to the oil man. Stacking, splitting, etc was good exercise and it was nice to have a stew cooking on the stove for a few hours. Or a steak grilled over the coals.

We do. No boxed stuff in this house.

Bottom button on some is turned for the dimmer now. Nothing beats sitting next to the old radiators on a cold night. Miss that once in a nostalgic while.
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On 4/4/2016 10:40 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I've missed seeing (natural) wood trim in homes. Newer construction the trim is often "pieced together" and intended to be painted over (to hide all the finger joints).
We've been (slowly) replacing the trim here with natural hickory as it helps tie the house together, stylistically. Of course, finding trim in anything other than the finger-jointed pine/fir (?) is a bit of a chore...
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On Mon, 04 Apr 2016 10:44:40 -0700, Don Y

All the trim on my main floor is mahogany, except for the newly installed oak stair railing - which is stained "mission oak" which matches the stained mahogany about 95%.. Getting hard to get mahogany trim around here. Not as hard as tha "gumwood" trim in our last house (which was all natural throughout), or the, I believe it is black ash, in my brother's place (which was half painted, and the other half all "aligatored" when he bought it. He has stripped and refinished most of it.
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On Monday, April 4, 2016 at 2:47:01 AM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wrote:

Blah
Blah
Blah
Blah
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*snip* *snip* *snip*
They're still made but of course improved and safer.
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