I have an assortment of mostly older O22 switches and the ID plates read:
REMOTE CONTROL SWITCH
"O" GAUGE SWITCH
Except for one unit with the plate reading:
1-1/4 IN. GAUGE SWITCH
As shown in photo above. Is the so-called "automatically controlled" an earliest version of O22? It looks just the same except for the nameplate details. I've seen similar wording on the prewar O72 switches. I have a 721 prewar switch (with O72 curve) with the ID plate reading:
1-1/4 INCH GAUGE SWITCH 721
MADE IN U. S. OF AMERICA
THE LIONEL CORPORATION N.Y.
Apparently the "1-1/4 INCH GAUGE SWITCH" terminolgy was on the prewar units?
I have a 711 switch (power version of 721) but the ID plate is missing. It has the same style of postwar switch machine except there is no fixed voltage input and the cover is die-cast instead of Bakelite. Of course, I can't be sure it is the original switch machine, but I suspect it is. I'm wondering if the prewar versions didn't have the fixed voltage input feature? Maybe they used some leftover prewar switch machines for the oddball O22A switch in 1947? I have one O22A switch and it is just the same as an O22 except they were made without cover plates on the bottom, they lacked the fixed voltage input jack, and they say O22A on the ID plate.
I'm curious about the prewar heritage of what I originally thought were postwar-design switches. If anyone has additional information to add, I will be interested to hear it. I'm aware that Lionel made earlier versions of switches also designated O22, which were a completely different design.
While we are on this subject, is there a way to differentiate prewar and postwar versions of the 1024 manual switches for O27 track? I have two pairs of 1024's, currently using some on a layout. One of their advantages is that the smaller baseplate permits some track arrangements not possible with other O27 switches.
This last photo shows the ID plate for a 1947-only O22A switch, a rare and curious variant of the O22.
Another trivia question: when did Lionel start using the 5133 number on what otherwise looks like a O22 switch? Sometime after 1969 ?