What kinda electrical is this?

Help Support House Repair Talk:

Joined
Aug 2, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
USA
House from 1923, but went through renovations in the 1950s/1960s. These wires have been cut and painted over, and when we did the home inspection, we were told these were an old system in which you could move the outlet wherever you wanted by sliding it along the wires... which obviously sounds insane by our safety standards. So... what were these called? Would this have been during the 1950s? Should I just remove it all?
 

Attachments

afjes_2016

Established Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
589
Reaction score
267
I've never seen that exact type of setup before but that does not mean it does not or did not exist.

It looks similar to todays wire-mold except that it seems, well most of it seems flush to the wall surface where wire-mold sits on the surface of the wall etc. Maybe it is wire-mold but slots were cut out of the wall to make the wire-mold more flush with the surface.

Anyway, maybe someone else has seen this specific wire-mold in the field or has actually worked with it.

How safe is it you ask. I could not answer that question. Depends what is inside of the wire-mold and how the connections were made and the materials used.

Even today's modern wire-mold. If not installed correctly using the proper materials then it is not as safe as it should be. But only opening it up and inspecting it will reveal the truth.
 

Steve123

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
Messages
276
Reaction score
115
Not sure your inspector was accurate. When I look at the second photo with the outlet, the outlet does not look like something that I can slide on the track.

A system like that requires the conductors to be to some extent exposed. For sure they would try to create geometry where access is limited, but if I can slide something on the track and make electrical connection, there has to be some access to the conductor. I used to have monorail track lighting where the light heads or pendants could be slid to any location. At least my track was 7 or 8 feet in the air. Having any exposed conductors 1' from the floor seems very risky if any children are around. In any event, its been painted over at least once, so I don't think anything is going to slide on it anymore.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,406
Reaction score
2,421
Location
Erie, PA
All kinds of great inventions came along in the late 50s early 60s with home wiring. The demand was that when electrification came thru it was a little ahead of need. People had one ceiling light in each room and an outlet to plug the radio into. As time went on all these gadgets came out and people wanted outlets everywhere and didn’t want to rip plastered walls up.

It sounds like yours is dead but not removed. If that is the case I would take it all out and clean up the areas. You would never want to use it again. I being a packrat would keep the stuff for historical value to show people how your house evolved over time.
 

Eddie_T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
746
Reaction score
517
I've seen something similar on track lighting. You don't slide anything you just plug in anywhere along the strip. I think they stopped selling them when polarized plugs became common. If you have a meter it's easy enough to check or if you have an old lamp with an unpolarized plug just plug it in.
 

Latest posts

Top