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What type of phone wire is this? #167270 08/08/07 11:45 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,634
Admin Offline OP
Hello again!

I just thought I'd share these pictures and also try to find out what type of phone cable this is.. I found this cable in the house I am going to be moving into very shortly. This house was built in 1963 and is actually my Grandmothers old place. I sort of knew there was some bizarre wiring for the phones in the house as I remember seeing the ends of the cables in the basement stapled up near the phone junction block and dissapearing into the wall ( last two pictures).

I finally had a chance to get into the attic this past weekend to do some work and again found it running around under the insulation and supported by those weird hooks ( first two pictures). I also did find it in one wall stapled and bundled up to a stud while I was cutting in a box for a switch.

I am not 100% positive but I think this was used or called
"Riser cable" and was installed in apartments usually running up through the floors in conduits, or at least I have seen someting similar ... I was just wondering if anyone else has seen this used in your typical wood-framed house and what it is called!

Thanks again!

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Re: What type of phone wire is this? [Re: Admin] #167272 08/09/07 02:34 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 61
TOOL_5150 Offline

I have seen this in older homes in California. It looks to be 6-pair cross connect wire [xcw]. If it does not have any cuts in it, it will last for many years. From the pics you have supplied, it looks as though it is in good condition.


I would rather beg for forgiveness then beg for permission.
Re: What type of phone wire is this? [Re: TOOL_5150] #167282 08/09/07 09:36 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
EV607797 Offline
That wire was used for prewiring houses by most Bell companies in the 1960's and 70's. It's not actually cross connect wire; the wire insulation on this cable was a little bit thicker. I was still using it myself until the mid 1980's until I could no longer purchase it.

The idea was that once it was installed within the walls, there wasn't much chance of it getting damaged. They also ran it in a continuous loop and fed both ends. This way, even if the cable got cut, it was still being fed from the other direction. It would have to get cut twice in order to actually interrupt service.

The "hooks" are called drive rings. They were the only acceptable method of securing this prewire cable. They also made it feasible to pull a new piece of cable in should the original one fail.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
Re: What type of phone wire is this? [Re: EV607797] #167296 08/09/07 05:33 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 558
Rewired Offline
Right on! Matt: that wire is in good shape it has never been touched or disturned since 1963.. Been buried in the walls and under insulation since then.
Ed: I am going to take a meter over and check just for laughs and see if its wired in a loop! From what I saw in the attic it did appear to drop down a wall and come back up and go elsewhere, and in the basement it appears to be two cables but that makes sence now that its the ends of the loop.. " Drive Rings"? Yeah I have heard that term before! Come to think of it I have seen them in a pole line catalog I picked up somewhere.
Its too bad I don't know where EXACTLY these wires are running in my walls, I wouldn't mind actually cutting in phone jacks and using it if it were in the right location.. Guess I may have to crawl up in the attic sometime and see where it all goes!
Thanks again!

Re: What type of phone wire is this? [Re: Rewired] #167300 08/09/07 10:12 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
EV607797 Offline
Make sure that you pick a pair that's unlikely to have ever been used, like the white/slate pair. There's always a chance that someone may have cut a pair over the years at a jack location. I think you will find that the white/slate pair will test continuous back to the protector.

The general prewiring concept (with any type of wire) was to keep the runs in the attic and drop down so that they were accessible for future re-pulls. This even applied for outlets that were at a lower level. It wasn't uncommon for a prewire loop to dip all the way down from the attic to a basement outlet and then back up. You really didn't see a whole lot of this cable used in exposed basement areas due to concern over damage.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
Re: What type of phone wire is this? [Re: EV607797] #167306 08/10/07 12:48 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,379
Trumpy Offline
Regarding the double post Ed,
Usually a Moderator will come along and delete the 2nd post, if need be.
They happen because, you may have gone back after writing the original post and then clicking on "Submit" again, after having submitted your original posting.
I've done this more times than I care to think about, so there is no shame in doing it. wink

Re: What type of phone wire is this? [Re: Trumpy] #167472 08/13/07 03:47 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
This seems kind of odd to me. It's not something you'd find over here, but then in domestic premises in the 1960s/70s era you'd be lucky to find any sort of prewiring like this anyway.

This was still the era of the G.P.O. monopoly, and telephone wiring in residential didn't go in pretty much until the house was otherwise finished and the owner ordered service from the Post Office. Then it was usually just round-sheathed 4-conductor cable clipped around the baseboard.

Even in apartment buildings where some pre-wiring may have taken place, I've never seen anything like this.

Just how much thicker/tougher is the insulation on these wires compared to those within a normal cable?

Re: What type of phone wire is this? [Re: pauluk] #167482 08/13/07 09:11 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
EV607797 Offline
When it originally came out, the insulation thickness was about double what you would see on today's cross connect wire. In the late 70's, it seemed that they thinned it down a bit, proably due to the advent of IDC hardware.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."


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