Knob and tube wiring...did you ever hear of it before watching HGTV...was this a Canadian thing?
They don't seem to find it in renovations of American homes.
This ancient technology was in the basements and attics of several homes I visited (relatives) and rather common here in Wisconsin back in the 1950's
It's quite common, above and below the 49th Parallel, having been the standard method of wiring for more than a half century, losing favor only from the 1930s.
I had it in my Wisconsin house, r1, or at least the remnants of it in the basement like you said. It was upgraded by the time I bought the place, but I think the update happened as late as 1999 or so.
Anyway, it's definitely more widespread than localized. R2 sounds accurate.
My house was built in 1917 and it still has it.
It no longer serves things that take a modern load like the kitchen, but it is still in use for some light fixtures in the living room. In fact, I think all wiring in the attic is still knob and tube. All it powers are a few ceiling lights. Electricians have looked at it and have never had a problem with it.
It's a Canadian thing, but also is paying $500,000 for a piece of shit tear down.
Speaking of Canadian housing terms, what the hell is a backsplit.
Our Kentucky house had it (1883). We had it rewired to code before we'd touch it.
Houses electrified before the 1920s had knob and tube wiring.
It still works fine EXCEPT it was never meant to be covered by insulation.
insulation (unheard of before 1970) over knob and tube can cause it to overheat and start fires.
Our house was built in the 1920's and has cloth covered wire running through black pipe conduit. No grounding. Everything still works. We have lots of 3-prong adapters.