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#152972 - 04/06/06 11:53 PM The way Romex Used to be Done ...  
Admin  Offline

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,458
My place was built in 1940, using the latest in "electrical tech"- the new "Romex."

I've begun some long-overdue remodelling. I thought you'ld appreciate a pic of how things used to be done.

Please note the shape of the rear of the switch box. Note that there are no connectors; while the box has tapped holes for an internal clamp, none was used.

What is not so clear is that this box is just a bit smaller in every dimension than the boxes we use today. A standard "gfci" receptacle will just fit- but there will be no room left for the wire!

Later, I'll try to get some nice pics of how wires were connected before wire-nuts came along.

- renosteinke
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

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#152973 - 04/07/06 06:47 AM Re: The way Romex Used to be Done ...  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Is this the Romex which has a kind of impegnated cloth sheath? Presumably rubber insulation on the individual conductors too?

#152974 - 04/07/06 09:05 AM Re: The way Romex Used to be Done ...  
Texas_Ranger  Offline
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,402
Vienna, Austria
The gas range in the background is interesting too. It's the first US range I've seen that looks rather European!

#152975 - 04/07/06 04:07 PM Re: The way Romex Used to be Done ...  
Rewired  Offline
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 558
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
That looks like what I found in the walls at the Girlfriends place, only some HAD bonding conductors and some didn't!
The boxes they did bond to ground they just used a nut and bolt arrangement through a hole in the back of the box.. works great until you loosen the bugger then try and re-tighten it!!

Lemme guess, they soldered and taped all the connections too eh? Used that " friction tape" stuff that looks like modern day "hockey tape"? [Linked Image]


#152976 - 04/07/06 06:32 PM Re: The way Romex Used to be Done ...  
Elviscat  Offline
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 214
Seattle Washington USA
try spending all day working with that stuff with bare hands, it takes a week to get the tar stains off!

#152977 - 04/07/06 08:39 PM Re: The way Romex Used to be Done ...  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
You're all on the right track. This stuff does have an impregnated cloth outer wrapper, a kraft-paper liner, and the individual wires are also (probably) rubber insulated, with some more paper wrap. There is no ground wire.

I have not taken this apart as yet; it probably has soldered and friction-taped connections, with no pigtails. If it does I will get some pics.

Also of note is the fire-blocking halfway up the wall. This was common until the late '60's, when it was decided that blocking between floors was enough.

#152978 - 04/08/06 04:31 PM Re: The way Romex Used to be Done ...  
Elviscat  Offline
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 214
Seattle Washington USA
That style of fire blocking makes fishing in walls real fun, it's alright as long as it's a one floor house with an unfinished basment below and attic above, down from the attic for switches, up from the basement for outlets, if you lack one of those and the customer wants something done requiring new wiring, they're most likely not going to be very happy with the new that you're going to have to punch a bunch of holes in their walls. it'd be really cool if you could post up a pic of one of those old soldered/taped connections!


#152979 - 04/08/06 06:56 PM Re: The way Romex Used to be Done ...  
Alan Nadon  Offline
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 399
Elkhart, IN. USA
I see that stuff all the time on remodels.
In the 60's I worked in a supply house and we sold it by the reel for Mfgr. homes. When the plastic jacketed wire came out it was sent back because the installers wanted the "regular" wire. The new stuff was too hard to strip.
In some installations I have seen where the old cloth covered wire first came out with a ground wire. Electricians didn't know what to do with the ground wire so some would wrap it around the cover screw at a box and at the panel wrap it around the screw on the clamp.
Ah, the good old days. Remember the wiring you do today will last the life of the building, or until the fire department shows up.

If it was easy, anyone could do it.

#152980 - 04/09/06 12:05 AM Re: The way Romex Used to be Done ...  
electure  Offline

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,262
Fullerton, CA USA
Of note, the old "Carpenter's Rule" for blocking = 3 from a corner, and 2 from an opening. These were put in to give the wall rigidity, not as fire stops.

(Anyway, that's what my "Old Carpenter" friend tells me) [Linked Image]

#152981 - 04/09/06 11:46 AM Re: The way Romex Used to be Done ...  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
There's another trivia item in this kitchen, that I forgot to mention- the water heater!
That portion of the kitchen counter, to the right of the sink, and behind the fire extinguisher, is actually the water heater. The steel top of the cabinet is formed to make a wountertop, complete with backsplash. All is enamel on steel.
(The sink base is of the same type, but the sink / counter above is a replacement for the original one-piece sink/drainboard top.)

[This message has been edited by renosteinke (edited 04-09-2006).]

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