Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the book?
You’ll get 500-some 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 2021.
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. As of early 2023, he has begun working on a third edition.
His second book, Your Old Wiring, was dropped by McGraw-Hill in September of 2022, along with Old Electrical Wiring. He doesn't intend to let them go out of print; too many people have found them valuable.
David continues to work as an electrical consultant in the Washington, D.C. area under the business name Safety First Electrical, and fulfill his various volunteer commitments. These include work to improve product and installation safety standard, as well as Code education and participation in his town's Ethics Commission.
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.