The Lionel Controller No. 88 was used as a directional control button with transformers like the Type R, V, and Z. As such, it was always in the "normally on" position and when pushed would interrupt the current causing the locomotive’s directional unit to cycle. This "normally on" switch was carried over from the Pre-war Era (1938-1942) and was availble during the Post War Period between 1946 and 1950.
This controller looks exactly like the No. 96C Controller except that the 96C is "normally off" and pushing the button allows the current to flow to the accessories.
This item was sold independently in an art deco box. There is a dealer box that contained 12 of these controllers. It is GRAY paper board with the ORANGE and BLUE Lionel logo on one side. This box is very rare.
There are two variations:
Variation A: The connecting wire posts are on 1" centers with a rivet between the posts. This was the earlier production.
Variation B: The connecting wire posts are on 1/2" centers without the rivet. Late production of these controllers.