You are correct -- mine each have a bunch of contacts -- some of them are "switch to make" and others are "switch to break" -- plus one of the switches works as a momentary switch if you press it down (when you release it it returns to the center position) and toggle if you switch it up.
They are very, VERY tasty!
Your switches look like "Kellog Keys", they were standard telephone switches here in the UK until the "Ericcson Keys" came along. The BBC (Our national radio) had an AEI (I think!) built control room from the early 60's which htey ripped out in the 90's. It had hundreds of these, some of which were never even used. I think they were replaced by the flimsier Ericcsons shortly after.
For Lamps, you can drive bulbs or LEDs from the old ULN200* family ("ULN2003" suits TTL) which will take PWM etc. And yes, bulbs will integrate the pulses mech better than LED's, especially for migraine sufferers!
Lamps (because of their coiled filaments) are a bit inductive, so if you PWM them at a very high frequency you just might get strange things happening. But anything in the KHz region shouldn't worry them. They are after all usually fed with 50/60 Hz...anything above that you shouldn't get any flicker.
I once used an auto bulb as an RF dummy load. At 40 MHZ it was quite good, but at 80 MHz it needed a trimmer cap across it to null out the inductance. Cheaper than buying s proper load.
When I was at Boeing, there was a rumor going around that there was a box for the uninitiated. It was welded metal and had one button--and a sign that said, "Do not press this button."
It generally sat there for less than half an hour before somebody pressed it. Contents? A battery, a latching relay, and a klaxon. In that metal box, it was loud. I was told that more than one went into the Duwamish River (which ran close to the plant).
The ultimate machine, of course, is something about the size and shape of a cigar box with one switch on the front. When you throw the switch, there's an angry buzzing inside, and a few seconds later, this mannequin hand 'ratchets' out, and turns off the switch. Then the hand pops back inside, the lid closes, and the buzzing stops.
This is the ultimate machine--almost human. The only thing it does, is turn itself off.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used on the Mars on EE Times Radio. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.