Knob and tube wiring 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Yep, CJ googled it!)

 

Knob Tube Wiring 

 

Knob and tube wiring (sometimes abbreviated K&T) was an early standardized method of electrical wiring in buildings, in common use in North America from about 1880 to the 1930s. It consisted of single-insulated copper conductors run within wall or ceiling cavities, passing through joist and stud drill-holes via protective porcelain insulating tubes, and supported along their length on nailed-down porcelain knob insulators. Where conductors entered a wiring device such as a lamp or switch, or were pulled into a wall, they were protected by flexible cloth insulating sleeving called loom. The first insulation was asphalt-saturated cotton cloth, and then rubber became common. Wire splices in such installations were twisted together for good mechanical strength, then soldered and wrapped with rubber insulating tape and friction tape (asphalt saturated cloth), or made inside metal junction boxes. 

Knob and tube wiring was eventually displaced from interior wiring systems because of the high cost of installation compared with use of power cables, which combined both power conductors of a circuit in one run (and which later included grounding conductors). 

At present, new knob and tube installations are permitted in the US only in a few very specific situations listed in the National Electrical Code, such as certain industrial and agricultural environments. 

 

 Audio of Gordon's Explanation of Knob & Tube Wiring