I have always been fascinated by the craftsmanship and materials used in 19th century architecture and design. As I began renovating my 120 year old home, I wanted to restore some of its original character by rewiring it using authentic techniques and materials from that era. In this article, I will provide an in-depth guide on how to rewire your home with authentic 19th century techniques.

Overview of 19th Century Electrical Systems

During the 19th century, electricity was just beginning to be adopted for lighting and powering devices in the home. The electrical systems from this time period have some unique attributes:

Rewiring with Knob and Tube

The signature wiring method of the 19th century was knob and tube:

Materials Needed


Here is an overview of the knob and tube rewiring process:


Vintage Lighting and Accessories

To complete the 19th century electrical system, period-appropriate lighting and accessories should be used:

Gas Lighting

Edison Bulbs

Wall Sconces

Cloth Wiring

Porcelain Sockets

Push Buttons

Recommended Safety Guidelines

While recreating a 19th century electrical system, integrating modern safety practices is vital:


Rewiring a home with 19th century techniques takes research, diligent safety precautions, and the right materials. The end result is lighting, switches, and accessories that accurately reflect the era. While rewiring an entire home this way is impractical, integrating select antique elements into a modern electrical system can provide unique historic charm. With proper care and safety checks, vintage wiring can be preserved to showcase the craftsmanship of an earlier time.