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What Does This Mystery Knob Control?

updated Dec 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Q: Apartment Therapy Supersleuths, please help us solve a mystery that has plagued our family since 1980. In this 1919 farmhouse exists a knob low on the wall in the living room [see photo below]. The way the knob turns, it feels to have more of an on/off utility than to control something like a dimmer switch would…

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(Image credit: Cara)

The house had push button light switches when it was built (can we bring those back, btw? I think they are so beautiful and so satisfying to push). The thermostat for the radiators is on another wall in the same room. Please excuse the untidiness in the photo—the home needs some work. I’d welcome suggestions for good “old house” forums that might be helpful as well. Thanks all! -Sent by Cara

Editor: Off-topic, but my parents’ house has those push-button light switches, and they ARE extremely satisfying to push! Anyway, do you all have any idea what this knob might have originally been used for? Any favorite old house forums to recommend?

More Old House Mysteries:

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  • What’s With These Ingenious/Terrifying Stairs?
  • What Is This Mysterious Wall Mount in My 1901 Home?

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