Friday, January 16, 2009

Another curious discovery in the attic

Unknown wiring (detail)

I found this bit of wiring in the attic.

Unknown wiring (detail)

Here is a wide angle shot of the same. It comes up to the 4th floor from places unknown, runs the entire length of the space, then disappears back downstairs. It is secured the entire distance by fasteners similar to those shown here.

Could this have been some sort of buzzer or intercom for the hired help up on the third floor, or perhaps old phone wiring - who needs those pesky grounds, anyway? In the second floor hallway, above the frame of the door that leads to the third floor, we found a spot where it appeared some sort of box had been mounted, of the size that I would expect a doorbell or similar to be.

I'd be interested to hear any theories on the subject.

9 comments:

NP said...

Very likely phone or door bell wiring. We have similar wiring running along the tops of baseboards in the second and third floor of our house. I think in our case, it's phone wiring. We do have a second level door bell that would have rung in the butler's pantry, but that wiring is in the walls. Can you follow it to where it goes down inside the walls? I bet you'll find it running the tops of door frames or baseboard trim, or see some phone outlets below where it drops into the house. If you are worried at all, use a voltage tester to see if there's any current. I would imagine that it's too thin to be AC wiring.

Jason said...

If it's not functioning anymore, how do you beckon your servants?

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

Perhaps I need to get more servants to fix that so that I can beckon my other servants?

Gene said...

It looks like some old phone wiring we had in our basement.

BLuRr said...

I am going to bet it was a doorbell of some sort. I have the same bit wiring in my basement with the exact same wire holders. My doorbells are still working on that same wire.

jwe said...

I had some wire that looked like this running from the basement up to the attic. I found it in the basement first, when I pulled on it (stupidly thinking that it was just some old bell wire). It broke, and the ends touched some metal duct, and (much to my surprise) a breaker tripped! Yikes. I traced it back to where the twisted wire came out of some BX-like cable and terminated it, then eventually removed it, piece by piece while doing other renovation and electrical work. Later, when doing demo in the attic, I found the other end of the wire. It was just hanging loose in the wall. Scary.

Anyway, my advice is to be careful, even if you think it is just bell wire.

Nina said...

I have very small gauge wire going between attic trusses, in between each one, running down the back side of the house. No clue where they go but they are such a small gauge that I can't imagine what they're for and why they go to the attic. I just don't touch them, same rule I have for all the wiring in my house. It's a total hack job. New wiring spliced into knob and tube, switches not wired up at all, wiring to nothing, just cut off and taped up at the end, and then some w/o any tape on the end... I'm about to rewire the whole house.

HMC said...

it could also be a tv antenna... we have a button in our dining room floor that had wiring to the kitchen - it's placed where the head of a table would be too. i suppose it was a butler's bell for the head of the table to ring with their foot!

bayandgablevictorian said...

It looks like old telephone wire. I had to have some removed since it was not able to support high speed DLS internet.