To satisfy curiosity, "Romex" was invented and first
marketed by General Cable in 1922. It was developed at
their Rome, NY factory.
From an NFPA history of the NEC, titled
"The National Electrical Code and Free
NONMETALLIC SHEATHED CABLE
In the early days of electric wiring thin metallic tubes
with fiber linings were used, but the linings were
finally removed and heavier walled tubes substituted.
Metal armored cables were also developed so that people
began to think of wiring on knobs and in tubes and
in metal enclosures.
When in the 1920's Charlie Abbott of the Rome Wire Co.
developed and proposed recognition in the Code of a cable
assembly consisting of insulated copper conductors and
nonmetallic wrappings, the industry was shocked and
violent opposition to recognition in the Code developed.
The representative of one manufacturer of metal wiring
products traveled the country with a cage full of rats
and samples of nonmetallic cable to show how rats
would gnaw into such cable and cause short circuits and
fires. Some trial installations in the Chicago stockyards
showed that rats would indeed damage such cable,
but primarily when it was run across their runways.
Nonmetallic cables with rat repellent coverings were
developed and when a special technical subcommittee
recommended a limited recognition of the cables,
the Electrical Committee accepted the recommendation
and the cable was included in the Code under the
designation "Nonmetallic Sheathed Cable"
although most electricians called it by the originator's
trade name "Romex."
Few reports of rat damage followed recognition of the
cable, but some failures were reported in the very
northern states and Canada from alternate freezing and
thawing of the cable where it passed from a warm and
humid section of a barn to a completely coId area.
Weather-resistant types of cable were then developed
and eventually, the plastic coverings that prevented
Code requirements were gradually modified on the basis
of experience and home owners had access to a low-cost
wiring method that has been proved safe in millions of
Buy a pre-1929 Rome Wire Co. stock certificate here: