1929 light switches

oldalgebraSeptember 22, 2013

Just bought a 1929 Spanish Revival house in Southern California. One of the first things we are doing (before we move in), is having all the electrical redone.

Can you please help me with suggestions concerning the proper vintage light switches, switch plates, and outlet covers? Where did you purchase them? The previous owner had current-day switches and very funky switch plates in almost every room. Some covered with kids' stickers, some with three layers of paint. Most of them were cracked with part of the plate missing.

I like the old push button ones, but don't know if they are appropriate. What do you think?

A couple of photos would be appreciated. I'd like to get them ordered right away, but don't know what to look for, let alone where to look (other than Rejunivation.com).

Thank you.

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sacto_diane

Rejuv sells switches from Classic accents (http://www.classicaccents.net/). You can got directly to them. I was in the same situation with funky covers, switches etc. that had been 'updated' over the years. I decided on push buttons and metal cover plates for all of my switches and metal cover plates for outlets that were visible. Stuff behind couches, etc, I went with simple plastic ones. You can get some retro looking ones at places like Ace HW, etc. Alternate source is House of Antique Hardware (http://www.houseofantiquehardware.com/switchplates)

You could go for toggle like switches but those are harder to find sources.

Diane

Here is a link that might be useful: Classic Accents

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 2:38PM
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vjrnts

Historic House Parts in Rochester NY has lots of vintage and repro switches and plates. I go there for everything for my 1922 Colonial Revival. We would like to replace all of the switches with push-buttons.

Here is a link that might be useful: Historic House Parts

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 5:12PM
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judeNY

I would stick with reproduction push button switches. You can find vintage ones but they do wear out.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 7:27PM
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columbusguy1

My 1908 house has every single one of its push-button light switches and the original brass plates. My basement has ceramic pull-chain lights, and my attic has its gas/electric light...all working well after 105 years!

Wear out? Hardly, compared to reproductions. Nevertheless, in my 26 years of living here, I've only had to replace one switch, and I did that with a classic accents one--looks the same, but the loud snap of the buttons isn't the same. :)

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 3:29AM
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snoonyb

Interesting.
A lot of the push button were low voltage switching for a high voltage relay system, so be sure what you are dealing with.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 10:33PM
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azzalea

My house is 1926--as are all the houses in my neighborhood. All have regular switches. I just added my grandmother's antique china, flowered switch plate covers (which are designed for the ordinary switches, and are probably from the 1910's). I thin, for a nice look, you never go wrong with brass switchplate covers, if you don't have any antique switchplate covers passed down in your family

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 9:54PM
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Circus Peanut

You can get a plethora of great older switchplates on eBay, and the Classic Accents pushbutton switches are UL listed and very easy to install. They come in dual and triple pole, with dimmers, etc. I did all CA pushbuttons in my 1924 bungalow, using older vintage brass plates, and they looked marvelous:

Here's an odd plea for folks out hunting the fields & meadows for old switches: I recently bought a 1910 house that still has many of its original turn light switches, and am always hunting for more to replace the broken ones. They look like this - as you can see, some are broken and one was replaced some time in the forties with a flip switch:

If anyone comes across any - they have a narrow rectangular porcelain back like a regular light switch, not the larger industrial ones with a large round back - I'd be insanely obliged for tips on where you saw them. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 8:19AM
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juno2008

We got all of ours from House of Antique Hardware. They don't appear to have the same stamps as the Rejuvenation ones, so I'm not sure who the underlying supplier is. They snap pretty loudly. We put some fancy dark metal plates behind them from HoAH, but I probably wouldn't pick the same ones again. I really like the simple brass ones posted above.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 8:24PM
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AprilM119

I was reading a vintage 1920s light fixture catalog and it said that the switch plates' finish should match the fixture finish. Do you have any original light fixtures in the house? Typically they were brushed brass but there were also a variety of other finishes (velvet brown, copper). Go to oldhouselights.com to see the catalogs. They are fantastic. It will also show you the different types of switches available at the time - push button or toggle, mainly, I believe.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 6:14PM
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eaga

AprilM119, you are right, those catalogs are fascinating to see. I have some antique/vintage ceiling fixtures in my home, and I found two of them in the 1940 New England Lighting catalog! Also, I did not think of matching the switch plates to the fixtures - that's a great help.

Sorry for the interruption, oldalgebra, but I just had to share. Hope you are finding what you need for your home!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 10:01PM
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