Aluminum Lomex

This came up in a discussion I was having and it made me wonder. Can anyone point me in the right direction as to if and when 2 wire ungrounded lomex cable was used? I thought that lomex was copper and now I am hearing different. Paul Abernathy where are you.

You mean “Lumex”?


Hi to all,

Maybe I am wrong here, but I always understood that both Romex and Lumex were just brand names. Romex being more common in the states and Lumex more well known in Canada.



Romex has been around since the 20s but the ground wire didn’t start showing up in homes until the post war 40s and 50s. By the 60s I think it was fairly universal to have the downsized ground and it became a full sized ground in the 70s. At least that was my experience in the DC area

This cable comes with two or more conductors and includes a ground wire (bare wire). It is commonly known as “Lumex” (or Romex for Americans). T cable is the most commonly used. When I refer to two (2) conductor Lumex, I really mean one black wire, one white wire and one ground wire. The ground wire is never included in the cable count.

In a three conductor Lumex cable you would find one black, one red, one white and a ground wire.

In Canada and the United States there is a standard by which we measure wire. This standard is the A.W.G. (American Wire Gauge).

Please excuse the misnomenclature. I guess what I am asking is if anyone has come across 2 conductor ungrounded aluminum wire? All of the fabric coated 2 conductor ungrounded wire I have seen has been copper. Is it possible what the client was looking at was steel?


I have only seen it a few times, my understanding is aluminum romex was not producted after 1979. But it could have been much earlier as I will look for a reference for you.

Here is a nice URL on the subject…

Commonly referred to as 2-wire awg w/gr, or 3-wire awg w/gr…

Hi Larry, 2 wire (no ground) Aluminum wire would be a very rare beast as (at least in the US) the requirement for grounded circuits came in at just before the time that Aluminum started started to be used in residential branch circuit wiring. I could stand to be correct here, but if memory serves grounded outlets were rquired in most juristiction from 1963? but Aluminum wiring did not start to appear until circa 1965.

BTW, inrespect to your second question, it is likely that the client was mistaking tinned copper (not steel) for Aluminum



Sounds about right…

I never saw two wire Aluminum in Canada .
Never saw steel in Romex.
The only steel wire I ever saw going into a house was Bell telephone and it was two wire vulcanized rubber and the wires where copper plated .
It was Strong enough to support itself and still carry a phone circuit.

Roy Cooke

Sounds like tinned copper. Cloth insulation and tinned copper go together from when soldering was still popular.

Agreed- it sounds like tinned copper. The best way to tell is to look at the end of the wire say where it is tied into the neutral bar and try to get a look at the end that has been snipped off. If you see copper there…you have tinned copper wiring which was very common 50+ years ago.