Welcome to my Automatic Switching Page. In this section of the website you will find information on the types of switches used in and around Cumbria and also see what I have managed to collect over the past 10 years. In order for a street light to determine whether it is day or night, some kind of sensing element needs to be employed. Lamp lighters were the first day/night sensors to be employed. This was usually a man who went around the streets at dusk and switched the lights on. He then went back to the lamps at dawn to switch them off. Shift workers used to put a request in to the lamp lighter to be "Knocked up" for work at about 5 in the morning, so I suppose he was the first alarm clock too :)
Mechanical time clocks were the next devices to be used. These put many lamp lighters out of work as they did the job of switching the lanterns on and off automatically, however, they required to be wound up once a week as they were clockwork. I was informed that when the clock was wound up it would last for about seven days. As electric street lighting started to take over the time clock was fitted with an electric motor, this allowed the clocks to function completely automatically
Photo Electric Cells were the next step in automatic lighting control, these have been on the go for many years and have went through many different styles and designs, from thermal to electronic types, from one part to two part designs.