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Wire – the many faces of a material

Shell Hat made of Wire
Shell Hat made of Wire
Every day, we use wire and products made of it. Most of the time, we are not even aware of it. We wear a ring on our finger, or put on our glasses. We don’t think about it either when we look at the watch on our wrist. We use a tea bag closed by a staple wire. We have hook-and-eye closures on our garments, get into our car with its almost 70 wire applications, and when we operate the touch screen on our mobile phone, we don’t give wire even a single thought, although it is only the very fine wire netting underneath the plastic film which makes operation possible.
The word “wire” makes most of us think of florist’s wire, wire mesh, electric lines, or even barbed wire.
Wire is a material which plays an important role in our lives and has been doing so for a long time, and it will be indispensable also in future.
The German term “Draht” for “wire” can be traced back to the Old High German word “draen”, which means “twisting” and is derived from the original manufacturing process of twisting a drawn-out sheet metal strip.
Usually, wire is thin, long, and pliably formed metal, often with a circular cross-section. Other cross-sectional shapes are: Flat, square-section, or profiled wires.
Due to its length, it is wound on cores (reels, spools, spindles), or kept in coils. Its diameter can range between 50mm and 0.001mm.
The properties which make wire so popular are described in detail in the book “Draht – Zur Kultur- und Technikgeschichte einer sächsischen Industriebranche“ (Wire – History and Culture of a Saxonian Branch of Industry) published by Dr. Stephan Kieselstein in 2007:
Wire binds and connects. Wire protects and secures. Wire strengthens and fastens.
Wire carries. Wire sounds. Wire cleans. Wire consolidates and stabilises.
Wire separates and cuts. Wire conducts. Wire moves and drives.
Wire heats and glows. Wire decorates and adorns.
The works of young prospective designers at the University of Applied Sciences in Schneeberg created within the scope of the project “Line – Body – Space” offer room for new and different applications and for inspiration of new products made of wire.
Wire – a concept makes a career for itself