Clarification on wiring type

Good evening guys,

My question is pretty simple. Are both of these wiring types “cloth wiring”? I have been labeling them as such but there seems to be a distinct difference between the two. Any info would be greatly appreciated.Cloth%20Conductors Cloth%20wiring%205

Looks like cloth jacketed vs. cloth
Can’t tell for sure.

In both cases the insulation is actually rubber. The “cloth” is a covering over the rubber.


The wire is called “braided wire”. My mother and grandfather ran the “braders” at Essex Wire in Marion, In. Also if you look at the strands, they are “tinned copper”. “Tinned copper” was widely used in the wire industry. Scource Paranite Wire and Cable Copreration Jonesboro, Indiana sales catalog 1937, Division of Essex Wire Corperation Detroit, Michigan


Cloth wire…aluminum ? It will be brittle to the touch… Needs oxidizer? Planning to re insulate?

have seen some in the older houses in L.A…

“Cloth wire” is not aluminum it’s copper with a tin coating to keep from reacting with the rubber insulation.


Hi Justin,

We know it as VIR wire - Vulcanised Indian Rubber. In South Africa, this wire was used extensively in “the old days”. Due to the heat and weather, over time the insulation becomes very brittle, leaving the braided wire exposed and naturally a hazard. Even as far back as 45 years ago - when I was an apprenticed Lift Technician - it was being done away with and replaced wherever possible. It is replaced with the conventional wires available now, especially in roof and other spaces. It is particularly hazardous where used in roofs with pressed steel ceilings - I know of serious “accidents” as a result of these wires.

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What did you write as your recommendation on this? I was actually reading on this the other day I seen this in a 1950’s mock home inspection. I read that overtime this braided wiring can become very brittle and break open in some areas exposing bare wire.

There is nothing to write about.

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I agree with Roy. These is nothing in the photo regarding the rubber insulated conductors that would be a concern worth reporting.

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I write these up and recommend to have a licensed electrician evaluate due to age and ad in some fluff about how the materials can degrade with age etc…

To my understanding there is nothing inherently wrong them.

Thanks for the info everyone. In Florida cloth wiring can be an issue when obtaining homeowners insurance. I just want make sure I am correctly identifying the type of wiring. I’ve been calling this “insulated cloth wiring” and leaving it up to the underwriter to determine if they will insure the risk or not.

Justin, I have run across some issues with 4-point inspections regarding my classification as cloth wiring recently. What has been the response from underwriters regarding the “insulated cloth wiring”?

That is likely because insurance people are mostly desk-jockeys, and have no real knowledge of what the materials are. Personally, if I were operating in FL, I would never describe the wiring as “insulated cloth” or some such, as that description is a huge misnomer!! To the desk-jockeys, they are assuming it is just that… insulated with cloth… not insulated with the rubber that it actually is, and the ‘cloth’ is only a sheathing (or a jacket) to protect from abrasion damage.
You may want to try to better explain/educate this distinction with a footnote in the report to avoid this common confusion regarding the materials.
Good luck!


Hi John,

Sorry for the delay in response. Citizens has indicated that rubber insulated cloth wiring and rubber insulated cloth jacket wire should be reported as cloth wiring on the report. You are able to add additional notes in the section regarding the integrity of the rubber insulator and their underwriters will make the call.

I know several customers who I have inspected have been asked to replace the cloth wiring so it appears Citizens and most insurance companies are no longer writing that risk. The customer is general forced to purchase from a surplus lines carrier until the wiring is replaced at which point they can transfer over to a standard H-03 or H-08 policy.

Hi Jeffrey,

They seem to be aware that there is a rubber insulator between the cloth covering and the wire. Their concern is that the rubber insulator tends to break down and crumble apart over time leaving portions of the wire in contact with the cloth covering.

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Just wondering where and who you got that info from?