Talk:Birmingham Wire Gauge

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I've removed the following, which appears to be source text, and doesn't actally define "Birmingham Wire Gauge":

The way wire is made leads to a “natural” series of sizes. A rod (made in a rolling mill) is heated and pulled through a hole whose diameter is slightly smaller than the rod's. This process is repeated through ever-smaller holes until the wire is as fine as desired (see making wire).

To reduce the number of steps for economy's sake, the manufacturer would like the change in size at each drawing to be as large as possible; on the other hand if the change in size is too great the wire will break while being drawn. Older wire gauges like the Birmingham, Washburn & Moen, and Lancashire came from calling the wire from the first drawing number 1, from the second drawing #2, and so on. Note that the higher the number, the finer the wire.

Birmingham Wire-drawing, which formerly had to be done by hand, does not appear to have been made into a special trade earlier than the beginning of the 18th century, the first wire mill we read of being that of Penns, near Sutton Coldfield, which was converted from an iron forge in 1720. Steel wire was not made till some little time after that date. The increased demand for iron and steel wire which has taken, place during the last 35 years is almost incredible, the make in 1850 being not more than 100 tons: in 1865 it was calculated at 2,000 tons, in 1875 it was put at 12,000 tons, while now it is estimated to equal 30,000 tons. In March 1853, a piece of No. 16 copper wire was shown at Mr. Samuel Walker's in one piece, three miles long, drawn from a bar 6/8ths in diameter. Originally the bar weighed 128 lbs, but it lost 14lbs in the process, and it was then thought a most remarkable production, but far more wonderful specimens of wire-spinning have since been exhibited. A wire rope weighing over 70 tons, was made in 1876 at the Universe Works, of Messrs. Wright, who are the patentees of the mixed wire and hemp rope. Birdcages, meat covers, mouse traps, wire blinds, wire nails, wire latticing, &c., we have long been used to; even girding the earth with land and ocean telegraph wire, or fencing in square miles at a time of prairie land, with wire strong enough to keep a herd of a few thousand buffaloes in range, are no longer novelties, but to shape, sharpen, and polish a serviceable pair of penny scissors out of a bit of steel wire by two blows and the push of a machine, is something new, and it is Nettlefold's latest.

Atlantic Cables.—It would have been strange if Birmingham had not had a hand in the making of these. The cable laid in 1865, 16,000 miles of copper wire, weighing 308 tons, was turned out by Messrs. Bolton and Sons and Messrs. Wilkes and Sons. The cable itself was 2,300 (nautical) miles in length.

On September 20, 1994, Rowland Carson posted a list of the 39 most used gauge systems in use worldwide:

Of these Birmingham still features with the following:

  • Birmingham Gauge BG ~ iron hoop & strip, steel sheet
  • Birmingham Wire Gauge BWG ~ iron & steel telephone wire
  • Birmingham Wire Gauge for Silver & Gold ~ silver & gold
  • Stubs Iron WIre Gauge ~ iron wire
  • Stubs Steel Wire Gauge ~ steel drill rod

Andy Mabbett 22:52, 23 May 2005 (UTC)