The first one I remember was essentially a string. It hung down from the ceiling in the basement fruit room. Whenever I entered, I reached for the string in the dark and gave it a pull. The light came on. I prayed I wouldn’t see a mouse, but loved to pull the string. Sounds silly, but as a kid, I yanked that string a good many times. The light in our bedroom turned off and on with a little, silver chain. The light bulb sat in the socket with the chain hanging below. My sister would make me turn off the light then find my way back to the bed we shared. More times than not she would hide before I got back into bed then scare me. She was good at it.
My grandfather had a light switch. Well, it wasn’t a switch like we have now but a knob that turned the lights off and on. He also had brass switch plates with two buttons. One button turned on the lights. And, you can imagine the purpose of the other. I think those might be my favorite switches. Many years later lights turned on with the silent lifting of a switch bar or the pushing of one end of the button. I can track my history by light switches.
Now we have lights that dim, are on timers, have motion sensors and can be turned on or off by the clapping of hands. You can get on your computer and turn your lights off and on at home. Car lights turn on before we ever get into the car. Lights seem to automatically follow us around by no effort of our own. I sense a bit of laziness in my hands. They occasionally have the urge to push a light button again. My grandkids won’t have any idea what the old light switches were all about. They won’t know the thrill of walking into a dark room reaching out for a light string. The won’t know the thrill of pushing the buttons or reaching for a dusty light bulb hanging from a cord. Those were usually in the barn.
I’m not sure how much more progression can be made in this history of light switches. Maybe next we will use the ‘think method’. All I can say is “what a switch”.
Pam Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.