This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
When making a joint, care should be taken to have a firm, clean connection, both mechanically and electrically, and this must always be soldered to prevent corrosion. The insulation should be stripped off the ends of the wires to be joined, for a distance of about 2 inches, and the wires made bright by scraping or sandpapering. They should then be twisted tightly and evenly together as shown in Fig. 4.
Next comes the operation of soldering, which is absolutely necessary if a permanent joint from an electrical standpoint is to be obtained. A joint made without solder may be electrically sound at first, but its resistance rapidly increases, due to deterioration of the joint. As has already been stated, the wires should be made bright and clean before they are twisted together.
Soldering fluids should never be used, because they cause corrosion of the wire. The best flux to us is resin or composite candle.
The soldering should always be done with a copper bit rather than with a blowpipe or wireman's torch.
A convenient form of soldering tool consists of a small copper bit having a semicircular notch near the end. This bit should, of course, be well tinned. It is then heated over a spirit lamp, or wireman's torch, and the notch filled with soft solder. Lay the joint, which has previously been treated with the flux, in this notch and turn it so that the solder runs completely around among the spirals of the joint. The loose solder should be shaken off or removed with a bit of rag. When the joint is set, it should be insulated with rubber tape, so that it will be protected as perfectly as the other portions.
It is often possible to save a considerable length of wire and amount of labor by using a ground return, which, if properly arranged, will give very satisfactory results, although a complete metallic circuit is always to be preferred. Where water or gas mains are available, a good ground may be obtained by connecting to them, being sure to have a good connection. This may be secured by scraping a portion of the pipe perfectly bright and clean and then winding this with bare wire; the whole is then well soldered. An end should be left to which the wire from the bell circuit is twisted and soldered. If such mains are not available, a good ground can be obtained by connecting the wire from the bell circuit, as described above, to a pump pipe. In the absence of water and gas mains, and of a pump pipe, a ground may be obtained by burying beneath permanent moisture level a sheet of copper or lead, having at least five square feet of surface, to which the return wire is connected. The ground plate should be covered with coke nearly to the surface; the hole should then be filled in with ordinary soil well rammed.