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    Schneider Electric Donates Original Safety Switch to Smithsonian

    An original and still-working 1922 model of the electrical safety switch that helped save lives in American factories in the early 20th century was donated by Schneider Electric to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The donation of the historic device that would forever enhance factory and home safety was made as the company commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Square D brand of electrical equipment.

    The steel-enclosed Square D safety switch was a lifesaving replacement to the standard open knife switch common on factory floors in that era, which could easily electrocute machine workers who came into contact with exposed metal switch blades and live electrical current.

    Electrical industry pioneer Thomas Edison used Square D safety switches at his laboratories in West Orange, N.J. and Fort Myers, Fla. The 1922 safety switch that was donated to the permanent collection of the Smithsonian had been in use at Mariani Square, a former fruit processing plant in San Jose, California.

    > About Schneider Electric in North America
    Headquartered in Palatine, Ill., Schneider Electric in North America had sales of $2.7 billion in 2002. This entity markets the Square D, Telemecanique and Merlin Gerin brand products to customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico.