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Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the book?

You’ll get well over 450 pages of answers in Behind the Code: some of it stories, some of it dates to help you decide when a practice became legal, or illegal.

What about illustrations?

You’ll see pictures of Code books going back to the early 20th century. These are books that were used in the field, and whose information went into the book you’re reading.

Who wrote what parts of the book?

The chapters on the origins of Code rules, which constitute the body of the book, were written cooperatively. Each author prepared chapters on topics that interested him, and passed the drafts on to his coauthor. The material before the preface and following Chapter 50 was added by the surviving author, David Shapiro, after Creighton Schwan’s death. The illustrations and their legends were added then, too. In 2017, he started updating the articles to take into account some Code changes adopted over the decade.

Whose idea was the book?

Creighton Schwan proposed the project, inviting David Shapiro to collaborate with him. The idea was triggered by a comment from Gregory A. Moore, a Houston, Texas electrician, on the Electrical Contractor Network Discussion Forum.

How long did it take?

We put in about seven years to create the first edition. Before this, of course, we put in many, many years studying these issues. See About Creighton and About David for more on that. The process doesn't end, either. David was doing some last research as recently as early 2018.

What other books of Creighton's are available?

While Creighton was greatly admired for his writing, this is his only book in print. His editions of Practical Electrical Wiring and Wiring Simplified have long been supplanted.

What other projects is David working on?

David completed updating Old Electrical Wiring for McGraw-Hill in spring of 2010. Each edition contains material that the other lacks. While he is preparing proposals for another book or two, he has not approached any publishers recently. You will find links to sites where you can purchase either edition of Old Electrical Wiring here. You also can order his second book, Your Old Wiring.

He continues to contribute a monthly Residential Wiring column to Electrical Contractor magazine, work as an electrical contractor, inspector and consultant in the Washington, D.C. area under the business name Safety First Electrical, and fulfill his various volunteer commitments.

Have you caught any mistakes?

Thanks primarily to the alertness of reader James D. Robinson, a number of errata were identified in earlier editions. If you own one of them, corrections are shown at the Errata link.

Please send any comments to SAFETY at the dot-com davidelishapiro. I will respond directly. In addition, questions and answers of general interest will be posted here.