What is Cabtire?


Source: Provided by Priority Wire & Cable Inc.

What is Cabtire and where did the name come from?

Frankly, most in the industry don’t know, and a common story has developed based on bits and pieces of folklore and info gathered from the Internet (and we all know, that if it’s found on the Internet it has to be true!)

Urban lore states that after the war (pick one), rugged electrical cable was needed, so a class of highly robust but flexible cable was developed with a tough rubber outer covering that was made from recycled rubber car or taxi-cab tires. This group was given the name “Cabtire or Cabtyre Cable”. This, of course, is impossible since tires are a rubber that has been cured or thermoset. This type of material cannot be re-processed or melted down to be re-used to make even other tires, for instance, much less to make cable jacketing or insulation material. It could never be used to make the likes of SOOW and SJOOW portable “Cabtire” cables, but it can be ground up for playground mulch!

The real story is that in 1911, a really tough outer sheath was indeed developed for cables, designed to be “of great mechanical strength, water, and corrosion-proof, flexible, smooth and un-kinkable”. This was done by the St. Helens Cable and Rubber Company of Warrington, UK, who, in addition to making cables, had been manufacturing extruded solid rubber “tyring” for the wheels of horse-drawn vehicles, in-particular, Hansom cabs. So it was actually from the horse-drawn “cab”, and not the Checker Cab, from which the term “cabtyre” sheathing derived, and which has simplified down to today’s “Cabtire”.

And we can assure you, our Cabtire Cables, Portable Cord, or “Rubber” cables, are all made from fresh new materials, and not from used Hansom cab or Checker Cab tires!

One question though: If this type of cable were invented today, would it be called Uber Cable?

So what does SOOW or SJOOW mean?

S = Service
O = Oil resistant jacket
O = Oil resistant inner conductors
W = Weather resistant

SOOW cable is certified for use at 600 Volts. The “J” in SJOOW, stands for Junior, and this is a 300 Volt-rated cord. If you were to examine an SOOW cable with a given conductor size, such as 12 gauge, and compare it to an SJOOW cable with the same conductor, the SOOW would have thicker insulation and so a larger diameter.

We hope that you enjoyed our fact-finding on Cabtire. Priority Wire & Cable Inc. stocks and supplies all varieties of “Rubber Cables” from Cabtire to DLO, to Welding Cable, and Mining Cables, from their Toronto facility.

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