It goes back to the early days of railways - I checked and was wrong
about it being the vee of a cloven hoof, it's the same shape as the
visible cartilage in the middle of a horse's hoof, In those days
everybody knew horses.
I'd agree, it is probably a term that has diverged from it origins.
My understanding is that modelers and trolleybus adopted the same term
for track points and overhead wires because there is the similar
technical function of crossing one pole with the opposite pole,
albeit implemented in different ways. But where the term came from
I've never heard.
Is there some old electrical term like frog switch ? (Not switch in
the sense of rail points)
I used to think the term had some meaning on real railways for
switches and crossings - since I joined the present metro environment
I am the term is unknown. Thats not to say its not used anywhere, I
just mean it is not known on the infrastructure I work with. Likewise
- but digressing - the term feather for a multi white lamp route
indicator is unknown, if it has an unofficial name, it is "harbour
True enough but I just I happen to have the other halfs elderly cousin
here so I'll so I'll ask her what she called em. --------- Frogs she
says . Former conductress on Bournemouth Trolley buses,
she is now using a Corgi model and a cocktail stick to demonstrate too
a much younger relative how she maneuvered the booms.
On the Bradford system, most of the overhead points were operated by the
conductor pulling a handle attached to a cable on a traction pole, which
mechanically pulled over the spring-loaded frog. At some busy locations
where routes diverged, a power on/power off detector on the overhead
would change the points electrically when required. There was also a
manual pull in case this didn't work. The crews hated having to pull out
those long bamboo poles from under the chassis if they could help it.
At some turning circles on wide roads, e.g. Thornton Road, a string of
lightbulbs like Blackpool fairy lights was hung to guide drivers around
the curve at night.
Which sounds like "frog" may have been the original term for that
component of pointwork (I must check some of my waggonway texts..),
and that whilst it persisted in NA and in modelling, for some reason it
was replaced by a cumbersome and new-fangled invented term in UK usage.
 A memory stirs that "frog" was indeed used as a term in the early
years of the 19th century, at least. I will look tomorrow to see if I can
find evidence of it earlier. Lewis, I suspect, will be the place to
Is it perhaps an item that has traditionally been cast as a single
piece across the pond, but traditionally fabricated or at least cast
in separate parts over here - which means the name might not have