Following in the footsteps of my last post, I've unearthed more vintage electronic parts from my stash. Both the Sakura and Hell's Half Acre call for the use of three-way blade switches for pickup selection.
This is one of several early 1950s vintage “blade” switches on my bench right now. Technically this type of device is referred to as a model 1454 rotary switch. In this case the rotation, or throw, is 30º. It was used for military and communications equipment because of its reliability—being rated for a minimum of twenty-five thousand cycles.
In this photo you can see the two patent numbers stamped into the frame. Switches made after 1953 had three patent numbers. You can also appreciate the coarse grain of the brown phenolic which was a trademark look of the older materials. Its simple mechanical construction allows me to refurbish it to a perfect working order without losing its beautiful and rich patina of age.
Salvaged from more telephone switching equipment, my piece was manufactured between 1950 and 1953 by Centralab in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Much like the Western Electric plant, rows of operators toiled at punches, riveting the pieces of metal and phenolic together. In the 1980s around the same time that Western Electric was shutting down, the switch division of Centralab was sold off and shuttered. The buyer, Electroswitch was then acquired by ITT. The modern version of the trusty old 1454, known as E2G0203N is still made in Juarez, Mexico.
Does using vintage wire and switchgear make a guitar sound or play better? If this is what you're asking, you're missing the point. You can cover your wall with a twenty-dollar poster from Target if all you want is something to look at. If you are hoping for a deeper experience from the material things in your life, it has to come from a deeper place.