--- In STMFC@..., "Bruce F. Smith" <smithbf@...> wrote:
Few people modeled things to that degree of accuracy back then... But, the electro-mechanical device that operated the switch points was always called a "switch machine", same term as applied to power operated devices that perform the same function on the prototype.
If Westcott was guilty of anything, it was adopting the prototype term that was more all inclusive for the subject mater he was writing about... after all, Lionel called them "switches", but I bet their customers would have been upset if all they got in the box was a couple point rails :)
It's the modelers themselves that adopted the term in the operating sense, but likely as much to avoid confusion with the block switches we all had to deal with as due to ignorance of the prototype operating term. The prototype didn't seem to have this problem... when the Chief told the dispatcher to "line the switch" on his CTC machine, he knew exactly what was being referred to. Then he grabbed the selector on his CTC panel and did it :)