How the Obscure "Looming" Method Revolutionized Wiring in the 1800s


The 19th century was a time of rapid technological advancement, especially in the realm of electricity and wiring. While names like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla are well-known today, there were many lesser-known inventors and innovators that had a major impact as well. One of these was the development of the obscure "looming" method of wiring, which revolutionized wiring and enabled more widespread access to electricity during the 1800s.

What Was the Looming Method?

The looming method, also sometimes called the underfloor loom wiring method, was a novel way of installing electrical wiring that was developed in the late 1800s. It involved weaving insulated copper wires into a fabric-like pattern that could then be installed under floors and inside walls.

Here is a brief overview of how the looming wiring method worked:

The Benefits of Loomed Wiring

The looming wiring technique offered several important benefits over earlier wiring methods:

The Drawbacks of Loomed Wiring

However, there were some downsides to the looming wiring method as well:

The Evolution of Loomed Wiring and Eventual Obsolescence

Loomed wiring systems became very popular in the late 19th century during a surge of home and building electrification. At the time, it was a major improvement over the hazards and aesthetics of exposed wires. However, by the early 1900s several factors led to the decline of the looming wiring technique:

By the 1930s, loomed wiring was essentially obsolete. Only a few remnants can be found in the oldest buildings today. However, for a time it played an important role in making electricity and lighting more widely accessible to homes and businesses during the second half of the 19th century. The looming method and other early wiring techniques were important stepping stones in electrical development.


While largely forgotten today, the obscure looming method was an innovative wiring solution that helped enable widespread home and building electrification in the late 1800s during the early days of electrical power systems. The flexible woven wire fabrics allowed for efficient installation of concealed wiring. Although eventually surpassed by superior wiring methods, loomed wiring played an important transitional role in making electricity available to more people. Next time you flip a light switch, consider for a moment the pioneering wiring techniques like looming that first brought electrical illumination into our homes and workplaces.