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This is the motor rheostat wiper, with resistance mat removed. At the base of this wiper is a pad of paxolin, riveted to the casing, which had become slightly conductive with dirt and carbon dust and (most of all) manufacturer's black paint!
The conductivity wasn't enough to be unsafe, but it probably would have tripped an ELCB. All insulating parts including washer (under knob, not shown) scraped clean.