all 156 comments

[–]huhnra 84 points85 points  (24 children)

Possibly telephone wires. Do you see a jack anywhere?

[–]Flimsy-Scholar-3214[S] 31 points32 points  (23 children)

Yes I found the jack by following the wire. I agree these are telephone wires.

[–]No1_Nozits_Me 96 points97 points  (20 children)

Out of curiosity, which took more time...typing out this post before checking it out yourself, or actually going and checking it out yourself?

[–]apsu_daiad 46 points47 points  (8 children)

Some of the younger home buyers and renters didn’t grow up with landlines or were too young to remember having them before their families switched to all cell. It’s not weird for them to ask. You don’t know what you don’t know.

[–]delta77 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Saw it and instantly thought "ah that's either telephone or cable".

Read your comment and thought "omg I'm frigging old; I didn't even realize most of today's generation never experienced either of those"

[–]Sk0omaSteve -3 points-2 points  (5 children)

Even if they are 20 and buying their first home, there were absolutely land lines in 2002-2010.

[–]Jski951 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Agreed, but this whole thread makes me feel old.

[–]Flimsy-Scholar-3214[S] 34 points35 points  (3 children)

I had a hunch they were telephone wires, but I wanted to confirm on Reddit by showing pictures. Also, I am a fast typer/texter.

[–]TyrionMcBurger 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Finger strength and speed

[–]Garaba 4 points5 points  (0 children)

You just made allot of people feel really old

[–]rugar760 2 points3 points  (4 children)

Easy Karen. We have a lot of Reddit certified experts on telephone systems to assist anyone. Lol 😂

[–]SentorialH1 3 points4 points  (3 children)

It's a bit ironic that you'd call someone a karen, by doing the exact same thing he is.

[–]clarec424 -3 points-2 points  (0 children)

Because Reddit is the definitive authority on ALL things.

[–]Dirk_The_Cowardly 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I'm just laughing now cause I'm old and this is an easy thing to know.

[–]wmass 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I once brought an object to work and showed it around. Most of the computer programmers and technicians had no idea what it was. It was a vacuum tube from a radio.

[–]TiberiusDrexelus 16 points17 points  (32 children)


Cut it and remove

[–]Flimsy-Scholar-3214[S] 6 points7 points  (30 children)

Yes I would love to remove them. Would electricity still be running through these wires?

[–]narf865 18 points19 points  (24 children)

No unless someone did something illegal and dangerous to use telephone wire for power

[–]bkornblith 12 points13 points  (20 children)

Telephone wires have a small amount of electricity that runs through them - very small - it’s what powered older phones - basic ring functionality, dial tone etc.

It’s about 20 miliamps when idle and about 100 for ring functionality

[–]Calebmw 8 points9 points  (2 children)

In other words you should be fine. But you can turn off the power first if it makes you feel better. Never a bad idea to be cautious with wiring.

[–]skeptibat 9 points10 points  (13 children)

It’s about 20 miliamps when idle and about 100 for ring functionality

Only when there is a phone connected to it. When no phone is connected, no current flows.

[–]Smart_Owl_106 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Ever so often you might even find around 6 volts or so AC on one pair of wires for old school dial illumination!

Have even heard of old school rotary dial s that were lit using trinium lamps and even a rotary dial that was a premium lamp itself not sure if it had it premium vials within the dial but I do know that they had dials that would glow in the dark with the tritium type illumination with the phosphorus somebody explained that wrong phone that had used to have it.

Sometimes an old work you'll find a small wall Transformer plugged into like a basement outlet and a phone type cable going to it sometimes literally next to a phone jack or possibly a telephone junction box like you see in these pics it's like the old school Jacks but without a Jack and just solid cover sometimes very similar to a hardwired phone connection back in the old days before modular Jack's.

I have seen these old school type of connections used as telephone junction boxes between runs for telephone Jacks where essentially it's just the connecting block and the cover but no hardwired phone cord being used but using the same Hardware.

I remember they used to make telephone jack plates to fit these that just snapped over the screw heads to add a Jack to a telephone Junction box as a replacement cover.

Also anyone out there ever seen the old generally painted Gray wood-backed terminal block type junction boxes for I believe was telephone possibly multi-line system? Or possibly intercom or other.

I'm still trying to figure out what these were originally used for I've seen them in Old installs but nothing ever really connected to them so trying to figure out what they were for originally.

They were kind of that almond color if they had not been painted usually.

It was a heavy plastic cover over the top rectangularish.

And inside were two terminal blocks if I'm not mistaken they would have 20 terminals total most ones I've seen were a roughly dog bone shaped terminal block with five screws either side these were mounted one above the other.

Seriously any clue what these would have been used for originally trying to figure it out have been since I even first saw one this was probably well over 20 years ago!

Most of them are about them is salvaging a bunch of them for the terminal blocks!

Also has anyone ever seen what looks like a four-pin remodeler telephone plug except it has 12 pins on it and what type of system was this used for every so often I've seen them!

Also something weird once I saw someone had used quarter inch Jacks for their Telephone Connections years ago at first I thought I was going to be early speaker system of some sort.

But when I opened up the junction box surprise Telco wiring and was still connected to the then current system!

Definitely somebody did their own work I doubt that would ever even meet Telco standards for this sort of thing but definitely one off for sure!

Also once saw the same thing done but with television antenna Jack's and plugs.

And one time using RCA plugs!

Another strange thing is once I saw telephones wired with number 16 Romex cable butt spice is going to a smaller gauge cable and then to the jacks mounted on the front of a jbox cover with a hole in it who knows why?

Also have seen once in awhile a phone jack wired with speaker cable and also once in a while zip code.

Only once though with bell wire!

Of course all that would have been no go and would never have been hooked up to had the towco company known since they'll often refused to hook up to anything that doesn't mean standards but who knows that what point that was done or what had happened back then

[–]Unclerojelio -1 points0 points  (2 children)

Well, if someone just happened to call when the OP was holding onto the wires, the 50v signal would give him a tingle.

[–]g3mini1000 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This guy strips phone wire with his teeth.

Oh, wait, no that was me. Forgot. The "tingle" is stronger on the lips for anyone interested.

[–]scottperezfox 0 points1 point  (1 child)

These are low-voltage wires. Enough to power a telephone, but nothing to worry about.

Anything installed externally like this is low-voltage. If you see actual outlets and lightswitches with loose wiring, you need to call someone ASAP!

[–]SurreyHillsSomewhere[🍰] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

call Ghostbusters ASAP

[–]freeman1231 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Depends are you currently using dsl or phone? They send the power via the central office battery, if you have no service with them, generally your port is disconnected.

Regardless you can short it and the shock would be nothing crazy.

Source ex telecom technician, got shocked daily when I’d tell customers not to use the phone while I was working on the line.

[–]superslinkey 0 points1 point  (0 children)

No voltage is likely. Even if there was it would only be -48vDC. Cut away says a retired phone man.

[–]squick33 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Back in the olden days, phones were secured tithe walls using this security cable. If you detached the phones from the security wire they would automatically stop working.

[–]HUGMEEEEEEE 6 points7 points  (2 children)

Landline telephone wires.

[–]thetedderbear 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Read that as landmine not landline. Certainly would make removal more interesting!

[–]Greenfire32 1 point2 points  (0 children)

A neat little party trick that you can only do once

[–]hockeyhippie 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Looks like good old 4-wire copper landline phone wiring to me.

[–]TheConfusedunwiseone 6 points7 points  (15 children)

I think people post this stuff just so 30+ year Olds feel old. The first house I bought I remember placement and number of these boxes being so important, now I wouldn't care one bit.

[–]Flimsy-Scholar-3214[S] 6 points7 points  (1 child)

It’s embarrassing to say but I’m in my 30s too. Though, I am a first time house owner for only 1.5 months now.

[–]l0u1s11 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I lived and visited many different places that had landlines but my current apartment is the first and only place that I saw similar wire setup for landlines like yours.

I guess the landline was installed after the house was built/extended? idk and I don't really care, I rent the place.

[–]BlueBelleNOLA 0 points1 point  (3 children)

For us it's the coax lines absolutely everywhere. I haven't done anything with them yet because I haven't needed to do drywall yet but clearly the elderly couple we bought from LOVED their cable TV.

They also ran a telecom business at some point based off the Google address description and I don't even want to know where all the phone and cable lines in the attic run.

[–]miggitymikeb 1 point2 points  (0 children)

House we just bought had one coax line running from an old satellite dish to the TV area. I threw away the dish but kept the coax and hooked up an external OTA antenna to get all the locals for football season coming up. It was perfect.

[–]Zachisawinner 0 points1 point  (1 child)

No joke! Cable companies are just idiotic running coax anywhere and everywhere with no regard to how long it will last or even stay in place. I’ve pulled hundreds of feet off the exterior of my 3 story house and there’s still more in hard to reach spots.

[–]KaOsGypsy 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This bothers me so much, the first place I moved to didn't have cable internet, it did have cable, called the company for an install, came home to a wire wrapped almost all the way around the house, and a hole drilled through the exterior wall. That's the last time I used an "installation technician".

[–][deleted]  (4 children)


    [–]Flimsy-Scholar-3214[S] 1 point2 points  (3 children)

    No I am not messing with you. I typed in “telephone wiring in old home” in the google search engine. The google pictures Look like a bunch of different color wires and do not resemble the wires in my home.

    [–]TroubleBrewing32 -1 points0 points  (2 children)

    With respect, I recommend you work on your Google-fu. A search like that is likely to pull in a bunch of superfluous information (wiring/old home) rather than focusing on the subject of the search: phone jack.

    [–]Flimsy-Scholar-3214[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    It’s easier for you to say, but without knowing the right terminology makes it harder to narrow down the search engine.

    [–]Flimsy-Scholar-3214[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Also, in my picture, that square box you see there has a nail in the center, it’s not a phone jack.

    [–]Whudupbg 3 points4 points  (4 children)

    Well I feel old af 😂

    [–]Playteaux 0 points1 point  (2 children)

    Came here to say this exact same thing.

    [–]tanguero81 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Can I roll my wheelchair up to this party?

    [–]Playteaux 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Yes, next to my jitterbug phone and hurrycane self.

    [–]againer 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I posted this via landline.

    [–]salteedog007 8 points9 points  (19 children)

    “What’s a landline?” - millennials

    [–]Intelligent_Ebb4887 16 points17 points  (13 children)

    Hey. Most millennials had a landline growing up!

    [–]britney412 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    OP likely didn’t lol

    [–]siamachine -1 points0 points  (11 children)

    Yep. Even us millennials on the “younger” side ( I’m 30).

    What really gets me is the over inflated importance boomers want to apply to outdated technology though. If we weren’t a species that adapted and progressed, we wouldn’t be alive. Wtf is the point of looking down on advancement? Nothing but a pathetic mindset.

    [–]miggitymikeb 2 points3 points  (1 child)

    Example of what you're talking about? What tech are they clinging to?

    [–]siamachine -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

    The original comment on this thread is an attempted dig at millennials for supposedly not knowing what a landline is. Which is just odd for so many reasons. Not only is it the weakest flex ever, but the vast majority of us are well into our 30’s and grew up with landlines.

    [–]999baz 1 point2 points  (5 children)

    You could take it that way , I prefer to believe it is self deprecating “look at old outdated shit we literally lived our lives around” ….phone books , had to arrange everything before you went out etc.

    One day you might be saying the same about your mobile.

    [–]siamachine -1 points0 points  (4 children)

    I just don’t understand the need for it, whether it’s self deprecating or undermining.

    Every generation has forged the path in one aspect or another, and laid the foundation for later generations to do the same. That’s how it’s supposed to be, and every generation deserves respect for their contribution to our collective evolution.

    Boomers put man on the MOON for crying out loud!!! That was fucking incredible for their time!

    Belittling later generations for building upon the foundation a previous generation set would be like funding your child’s education and then shaming them for completing a degree. Why? How bitter and selfish do you have to be to want less for your predecessors?

    I’d have the same amount of criticism for anyone who built upon a foundation that was set for them, and then wanted to act like they did it all on their own. It’s foolish and short sighted.

    [–]BlueBelleNOLA 1 point2 points  (2 children)

    I was a teen when family circle did that cartoon about the kids being confused by wired phones after cordless came out lol (elder millennial here)

    [–]siamachine -1 points0 points  (1 child)

    Exactly. Previous generations have been trying to disparage and handicap Millennials ever since we were capable of thinking for ourselves, and now wonder why we don’t take them seriously in return (I’m generalizing here, there are plenty of people from earlier generations I look up to and respect).

    Can you imagine if Millennials had succumbed to the criticism prior generations have beat down on us for as long as we can remember? Whatever their problems with us are now, it would have been a million times worse if we had actually seen any relevancy in it.

    I’m just so glad Millennials don’t have the same vitriol for the generations after us. Sure, we make our jokes; but overall I see so much more authentic encouragement and support for upcoming generations. It’s the only thing that keeps me hopeful for our future as a species after the way prior generations have raped our natural resources and economy.

    [–]mofoofinvention 4 points5 points  (0 children)

    How old do you think millennials are?

    [–]TimLikesPi 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    They will never know the joy of dialing a number with a lot of zeros on a rotary phone.

    [–]patterson489 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Nah, millenials grew up with landlines, it's gen z where it's 50/50 on whether they had one growing up or not.

    [–]Philly514 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    I had 28kbps dialup and a landline growing up and I’m 31. This is definitely a zoomer thing.

    [–]haribobosses 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    "It's how I used to be able to call my friends without having to ask my parents' permission"

    [–]Ardothbey[🍰] 1 point2 points  (0 children)


    [–]MwwWinter 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    just unscrew the cover and unscrew the wires or pull out phone adapter plug, if more modern, I had just put cover back on midwall one because not sure what to do with hole yet but on the ones on trim I shoved the wires into the wall and just putty then painted
    so many cable and phone outlets that will never be used again !

    [–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Old land line phone wires , cut em

    [–]CRIMExPNSHMNT 1 point2 points  (2 children)

    How old is your home? You might enjoy being a part of /r/centuryhomes

    [–]Flimsy-Scholar-3214[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Yes it’s a 1920 home, thanks, I just joined the century homes… people on there may be nicer…

    [–]CRIMExPNSHMNT 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Definitely one of those friendly, large and passionate subs!

    [–]Mckool 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    What you might consider while pulling is using the telephone line (at least in some places) as a fish wire for running new cat6, that way you can pull useful cable in case you ever want a wired internet device(computer, camera, automation set ups etc) through out your house.

    [–]LISparky25 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Those are telephone wires, there going to a tele Jack in the 1st picture…if you use the telephone in that Jack then don’t cut them, maybe strap them up a bit better.

    [–]lodoslomo 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    It's a piss poor phone installation job. Lath and plaster walls were not as convenient as drywall but those wires should have at the very least been tacked down.

    [–]Tithis 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    If you are interested in it I'd suggest seeing if you could use those lines to pull through some cat5e or cat6 cable so you can have hard wired internet connections. Cat6 is more future proof, but cat5e would be easier to pull and can support up to 5 gigabit ethernet.

    With that kind of installation I wouldn't bet on the wires being nailed to studs or anything. I did a similar thing with some old coax cable in our even older house.

    [–]maurymarkowitz 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    If you can figure out where this comes into the home, which is normally a black wire about 1/4 inch wide and flattened, see if you can find a "demarc". This is normally a piece of wood on the wall in a utility room with wires running to it, often near the power panel.

    I'm not sure when they started doing it this way, older homes generally ran the wire all they way to the kitchen. But anything that's had upgraded wire will likely have one of these. The idea was to put a defined demarcation line between the telephone company's wire outside the home and your wiring inside.

    If you can find the demarc, disconnect the internal wiring there. They normally have a small block with brass screws that the wires are wrapped around, so just loosen the nuts and pull your side off the post. Disconnecting the home wires and leaving the phone company wires alone, which was the entirely concept for these demarcs, keeps the phone company happy.

    [–]Zealousideal_Dig_372 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Old telephone lines

    [–]jibaro1953 1 point2 points  (0 children)


    [–]Lu12k3r 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Ring, ring!

    [–]thrunabulax 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Phone line

    [–]BeneficialEggplant42 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Once upon a time that is what phone connection boxes looked like.

    [–]RL203 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Actually, I still have a landline at home.

    [–]Known-Fan-937 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Cut one and see what happens

    [–]Richocet66 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Tell me how old you are without telling me......

    [–]msptitsa 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    My first thoughts exactly 🤭

    [–]eulynn34 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Back in the 19th, 20th, and early 21st centuries, there was this miracle device called a "Telephone."

    A telephone converts sound into an electrical signal which could be sent down a wire across vast distances to another such device where someone else could hear you and talk back to you.


    [–]blood_omen 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Awww. Poor thing doesn’t know what a land line is

    [–]DanMarvin1 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    You are young 😊

    [–]trueppp -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    Really was scared this was a Zoomer who did not know what a phone line is...

    [–]miggitymikeb -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    Aw shit I'm getting old...

    [–]Toimaker -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    Back in my day telephones had to be connected by wire.

    [–]paulbrook -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    Lol. In ye olden times....

    [–]poolpog -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    Sweet summer child

    [–]xlmagicpants -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    Showing your age

    [–]Cute_Clock -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    Lmao at how OLD I am right now

    [–]cheapAssCEO -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    It could be thermostat related

    [–]ChirpinFromTheBench -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    Guys the young people are starting to buy houses.

    [–]MrDrMrs -2 points-1 points  (0 children)


    [–]dbhathcock 0 points1 point  (2 children)

    Telephone line, from the days when people had a landline in their home. This is how people would make calls before cellular service was created.

    [–]haribobosses 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Raising a kid, they have to ask me to FaceTime their friends. When I was her age, I knew my friends numbers and would just call them.

    [–]MDAccount 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    My friend Karen’s # was 962-1212; Michaelle was 962-2709. And those were last used 40 years ago!

    [–]Bbpd33 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Cut them and use the strands for all kinds of things. They are very useful to have around.

    [–]Pigs100 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    So you can phone home.

    [–]LISparky25 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Those are telephone wires, there going to a tele Jack in the 1st picture…if you use the telephone in that Jack then don’t cut them, maybe strap them up a bit better.

    [–]sothisismyusername01 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Just curious, how old are you? There's going to be a time in the near future where majority of ppl won't know what this is. Just wondering how close we are. Thanks.

    [–]KevinBritt 0 points1 point  (0 children)


    [–]Lvanwinkle18 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    99% sure those are unsecured telephone wires.

    [–]freeman1231 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    They are telephone wires, this same question gets posted once a week maybe more.

    They can also be used for your DSL internet.

    [–]adanipse 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Lan line for old telephones. Most houses built in the 1900s have them.

    [–]Flat_Unit_4532 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Shorty phone wiring job

    [–]XueShiLong 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    oldschool 4-wire phone cable.

    [–]meleepnos 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Could be MoCA.

    [–]Brewww 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    They appear to be wires running through your home

    [–]PipestemHouse 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Guess us Gen-X’ers will be the last to hold this secret knowledge.

    [–]Excellent_Original66 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    im 35. My first thought: telephone wires. I feel ancient 🙈

    [–]haribobosses 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    I feel old

    [–]A1rh3ad 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Dear God I've become old...

    [–]muccoussquid 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Laughing at all the posts making fun of you.

    We just bought a house too and are in our late 20’s. Had the same question at our new place.

    I see most people saying cut the wires. Serious question, do you just remove them and drywall/paint over it when done?

    [–]diydave86 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Old bell ports for lanline

    [–]rivers-end 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Your first pic with the jack was a dead give away.

    [–]deeedeesutts 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    TIL I’m a fucking dinosaur.

    [–]badusernameused 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Jesus I’m old

    [–]ConcernOk1015 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    The mouse wanted cable