The Importance of Terminology's Quality

George Neuner gneuner2 at
Tue Sep 2 02:48:23 CEST 2008

On Mon, 1 Sep 2008 21:03:44 +0000 (UTC), Martin Gregorie
<martin at see.sig.for.address.invalid> wrote:

>On Mon, 01 Sep 2008 12:04:05 -0700, Robert Maas,
>>> From: George Neuner <gneun... at> A friend of mine had an
>>> early 8080 micros that was programmed through the front panel using
>>> knife switches
>> When you say "knife switches", do you mean the kind that are shaped like
>> flat paddles? 
>Pedantic correction:
>"Knife switch" is the wrong term. These are high current switches, 
>typically used in the sort of heavy duty circuit where the wiring hums 
>when power is on or in school electrical circuits so even the back of the 
>class can see whether the switch is open or closed. In these a copper 
>'blade' closes the contact by being pushed down into a 
>narrow, sprung U terminal that makes a close contact with both sides of 
>the blade. Like this:
>What you're talking is a flat handle on a SPST or DPST toggle switch. It 
>is often called a paddle switch and mounted with the flats on the handle 
>horizontal. Like this, but often with a longer handle: 

I don't know the correct term, but what I was talking about was a tiny
switch with a 1/2 inch metal handle that looks like a longish grain of
rice.  We used to call them "knife" switches because after hours
flipping them they would feel like they were cutting into your


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