The Wonderful World of Wiring

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This article concerns one of the most exciting, mind-bending, electrifying, nigh-on bloody wonderful subjects known to humankind. The subject matter we’re about to discuss will knock your socks off with all the power of a sock-knocking-off machine, and may not be for the faint-hearted.

That’s right, you’ve guessed it – we’re talking about wiring.

OK, we may have oversold that a bit, but we did so for good reason. While wiring may not seem like an explosive topic, a small scratch underneath the surface can turn even the most seemingly dull subject matter into something fascinating.

It’s not the wiring per se that makes it interesting, but the things that wires have helped to create – many of which can be found in your own home. A well-used wire is a small cog in a massive machine, and can help turn a lifeless piece of junk into a snapping, crackling and eminently useful gizmo.

To convince you, here are a few ways that a simple piece of wire can be put to good use.

Thunderbirds

People of a certain age will remember when the puppet cast of the long-running kids show Thunderbirds were held up by extremely visible pieces of string.

But here’s an interesting fact – the string used to operate these beloved marionettes wasn’t simply supermarket twine. It was specially made by wiring manufacturer Ormiston Wire, one of the longest running companies in the UK, as part of the then-feted ‘Supermarionation’ technique.

The thin wires which operated the puppets also carried electrical signals to control head and mouth movements, turning lifeless pieces of wood into fully fledged characters. The wires were also chemically darkened in an attempt to make them as discreet as possible.

The wires were used during the puppet incarnation of the show, until the creators of Thunderbirds moved onto live action projects at the start of the seventies. So without wires, there’d be no Thunderbirds.

The Wonderful World of Wiring colour

Trip wire

As any aficionado of the James Bond franchise knows, trip wire is an essential piece of kit for every self-respecting spy. While the Secret Service are more comfortable behind a laptop than in the field of duty nowadays, a simple trip wire was one of the few gadgets a spy had during the Cold War.

This piece of string could set off traps, alert a spy to an enemy’s presence, or throw an enemy combatant off the scent of a spy’s whereabouts. A trip wire has been the central cast member in many a tale of derring-do.

Strip lighting

Wires are one of the main components of lighting in your office, especially if you have low-hanging strip lighting. These wires are rigorously tested for their tensile strength before their rolled out for public consumption. So while it may not look like it, the wiring holding your lights in place is lovingly crafted.

That’s our list! Can you think of any surprising uses for wiring? Then let us know in the comments below!

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