'Obsolete practices, was [OT]Dissimilar metals'
Robert M. McClure
>I've never seen or heard of that in the UK, perhaps with the higher
>voltage it was never done?. The oldest I've seen are linen or rubber
>covered live and neutral with an outer sheathing of lead. The lead outer
>is used as the earth connection!.
>There are still probably quite a few houses in the UK with wiring like
>this, but it's EXTREMELY!! dangerous. The linen/rubber perishes over the
>years and if you touch it, it just crumbles away, leaving bare
>conductors inside a lead casing!.
Such practices were extremely dangerous in the US too, even though the
voltage was only half the UK voltage. Quite often the "neutral" (aka the
ground leg) was not insultated, even with paper, rubber, or chewing gum.
Whatever insulation was used was prone to disintegration within a few years
in any case.
House fires were quite common in my youth. The leading causes were bad
electrical wiring and faulty flues or chimneys. I saw one farm that had
wiring in the barn made from baling wire (steel) and the 60 watt bulbs
would barely light up. Try that one on modern inspectors! When the
REA (Rural Electrification Adminitration) was started in the 1930's under
President Roosevelt, I have been advised that they planned on average
usage being less than one kilowatt per household.
I had a professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas
(Roy Krezdorn) in the 1950's who, upon graduating himself in the depth
of the depression, worked as an ordinary lineman for a power company.
He regaled his classes with numerous anecdotes about electric power in
This message comes to y'all from a computer powered
from a tube - and - knob wiring distribution.
Make's ya wonder.
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