If you look at it carefully, you'll see that the black from the top of the
white earth terminal is actually appearing as green/yellow cable from the
left hand side at the back of the wooden board, so I would take it the black
is only insulating tape wrapped around the green/yellow cable.
I remember seeing one place where the elctrickery looked like it was
circa WW1. Yes, WW One. There was an iron box on the wall which opened
(no lock or anything, it was just hanging open) to reveal 2 bare fuse
wires screwed in place at each end, no carrier, no insulation etc. And
as far as I could see, fuse-wise, that was yer lot mate.
Believe it or not, I was in an old property on the outskirts of Edinburgh
just last week, and it had the same set up you have just described in there.
Took a while to find a point to tapp off for the alarm system spur because
it still has cloth covered paper insulated cables inside rusty conduit. I
didn't think there was still places that had this old style installation
anymore. Wonderful what we had to work with in those days eh ?
Yeah. Its strange how these little time warps manage to still exist. I
remember a cinema that had been equipped in 1942, and one section of
it hadn't changed any since. It was like time travel. It was equipped
with arc lights, no less. One of the staff had even spotted some of
the equipment they were still using in a museum :)
Attaching anything to installs like these is a danger in itself. Move
the wires half an inch and up they could go. I dont think I'd try to
tap off any of the existing circuits, and I wouldn't install anything
that needed an earth.
It was one thing installing paper wire and so on in 1908 when it was
in sound condition, but to have such a setup still operating 95 years
later, after all the deterioration that time brings, is another. I've
seen the odd dated installation that would have been condemned even in
1930, yet is still in use today.
Cloth/rubber flexes that had fallen apart and become bare to touch
have always been a no-no, and periodic inspection of early electrical
kit was always strongly advised. Yet there are houses around today
that don't take even those most basic precautions. There is the
occasional place where its a wonder they get the lights to come on,
let alone survive the process.
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