outlet box "grounded" to neutral 1940's ?

Replacing bathroom fixture for daughter in 1940 vintage house. Original wiring to the outlet has the neutral stripped and purposefully connected to the metal outlet box before extending on to connect to the fixture.. All wiring is 2 wire. I failed to notice if the wiring was run in metal conduit, but it may be. I left it as is for the moment until I can get back there with a meter and run some sanity checks. It seems to me that when the light is on, touching the fixture and the water faucet a few feet below would zap you. It has been this way for 60 years and there is no reason to touch both, but it could happen.
I do not have an electrical reference that covers wiring practices of that era, so I do not know if there was a reason for this or if it was normal practice. I feel confident in working with home electrical challenges on normal circuits, but this one unnerves me. Do any of you electricians or old timers" know if this was normal for the era and should it continue being connected that way with the new fixture?
SkyBlue
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SkyBlue wrote:

Ah! I should have caught the "fixture" part. Yes, a grounding conductor run in the wall to the Cold water supply would help. You could verify that it is an effective ground by connecting a test lamp (~60 watt) from the Hot wire to the ground.
Technically, using a water pipe so far from the service entrance is a violation today, but I would certainly prefer it to nothing... Jim

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Grounding an outlet to a cold water pipe is how one in a bathtub can be killed. Grounds to water pipe must only be to remove current. Safer to disconnect that neutral to ground in the box AND only use two wire outlets - and install a GFCI in the breaker box for that circuit. Why a GFCI in the breaker box? Because you don't know how many more times an earlier owner hated humanity - doing only what was convenient rather than what is required and necessary to protect human life.
Do not connect neutral to ground in outlet box. Do not ground to water pipes. Some locations so worry about this as to require steel bathtubs to be grounded by a dedicated ground wire from bathtub to breaker box - so that any current leaking into the bathtub will be immediately removed by a dedicated ground wire.
Speedy Jim wrote:

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I agree with this on all accounts.
As far as the OP. Instead of doing all of this monkeying around. why not just replace the old cable by running some new romex from that fixture right to the breaker box and be done with it.....
One other thought, and this may or may not be up to code where you live, but you could run a single strand of insulated green wire alongside of the existing cable. Run it from the fixture to the breaker panel. At least this way you are safe, even if it is not the "correct" method
Personally, just replacing the wire is the best and easiest, unless you got to start knocking out walls,
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