Yeah, they definitely switched positions on this. Good find!
1. SHEOL/HADES IS A CONDITION
***ZWT November 1883, p. 4 ***
We find that it [hell] is the translation of the Hebrew word sheol, which simply means the state or condition of death. There is not in it the remotest idea of either life or torment...But still they go on preaching this false idea of hell, which is nothing short of a slander against the character of God.
***What Say the Scriptures About Hell 1915, p. 13, 36-37***
The meaning of sheol is, the hidden state, as applied to man’s condition in death, in and beyond which all is hidden, except the eye of faith...Yet we have found a ‘hell,’ sheol, hades, to which all our race were condemned on account of Adam’s sin, and from which all are redeemed by our Lord’s death; and that 'hell' is the tomb--the death condition.
***Let God Be True 1946, p. 75, 77***
And in the 14th verse it is stated "And death and hell [hades] were cast into the lake of fire . This is the second death ." This is highly symbolic language. Death and hell are conditions and reasonably they cannot be cast into a literal "lake of fire".... Hades, however, represents the condition from which a resurrection is possible.
*** w51 3/1 p. 143 Torments of the Rich Man ***
If one is in the condition like Sheol, hell, or the grave, he is not active in God’s service nor learning any of the truth. There the "rich man" class find themselves and can see the Lazarus class’ change of condition and can talk and complain.
*** Let God Be True 1952, p. 99 ***
But hell, sheol or ha'des means mankind's common grave, the condition where humans, good and bad, go and rest in hope of a resurrection under God's kingdom.
*** w55 2/1 p. 70 Is Hell Hot? ***
Centuries later the apostle Peter showed, at Acts 2:31, that Psalm 16:10 had its fulfillment in Jesus, that he did indeed go to hell but that God raised him up out of that condition.
2. SHEOL/HADES IS A PLACE, NOT A CONDITION
***Aid to Bible Understanding 1971 p. 701, 1488***
Since Hades refers to the common grave of all mankind, a place rather than a condition, Jesus entered within the "gates of Hades" when buried by Joseph of Arimathea ....Yet it [Sheol] cannot be said that it simply represents a condition of being separated from God,' since the Scriptures render such a teaching untenable by showing that Sheol is "in front of" him, and that God is in effect "there" (Prov. 15:11; Ps. 139:7, 8 ; Amos 9:1, 2).
*** it-2 1988 p. 922 Sheol ***
This would indicate that Sheol is the place (not a condition) that asks for or demands all without distinction, as it receives the dead of mankind within it.—Ge 37:35, ftn; Pr 30:15, 16.
*** w02 7/15 p. 3 What Has Happened to Hellfire? ***
Do you see hell as a literal place of fire and brimstone, of unending torment and anguish? Or is hell perhaps a symbolic description of a condition, a state? [Implied answer: no]