This shutoff switch, near the top of the basement steps in an old home confounds us. enter image description here

  • Might be a very old electrical switch. For a very old basement light, say, or one that is no longer connected. – Ecnerwal Aug 16 '17 at 0:55
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    Looks like an old light switch to me. – Ed Beal Aug 16 '17 at 0:58
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    It releases the shackled clowns from the abandoned lunatic asylum in the basement. Don't touch it!! – NPM Aug 16 '17 at 1:04
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    I had one like this in the foyer of my 110 year old house. Played with it for weeks but never saw anything go on or off. Eventually I got a letter from a woman in Germany that said "Hör auf damit!" – A. I. Breveleri Aug 16 '17 at 1:21
  • I think it's an on/off switch for an old doorbell. – Edwin Aug 16 '17 at 2:08

If it's an on/off switch that as far as you can tell controls nothing, I'd start by pulling the switch away from the wall and attempting to figure out where the wiring goes and to what if any fusebox it connects to.

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