1 July 2010

The Making of Wire

Ancient way of making wire:
1.Bash out a blob of gold into a flat sheet, ( use a smooth rock for an anvil)
2.Chisel off a strip, ( A stone chisel is ideal (!))
3.Roll strip between two hard surfaces- (perhaps two stone blocks)
The strip will roll/twist into a round wire.

So thats what I did. ( see gold earrings above on green)
(actually, I used clay bricks instead of rocks. And a steel chisel. Sorry)
The result:
grosso modo ma bella!

Drawn wire (the current typical method of wire production) is passé!
Well, its very predictable anyway.
Still the history is also interesting. (WARNING: goldsmithing geekiness ahead)

Theophilus' Treatise (early 12th Century) is thought the first technical description of wire drawing.
A solid rod of metal is pulled through a series of conical holes in an iron block,to make thinner and longer.

A page of Theo's ramblings in german, in case you didn't follow my description.

AD 1389. the first illustration of wire drawing? ( Mendel Bros.)

Workshop of 1576. Note the draw-table with crank wheel (apprentice-powered) on the left. Different draw plates on the wall. Drooby hats and hosiery for all. (Stephanus)

1698. The illustration is more sophisticated, but the wire-making is essentially the same. This wire-drawing workshop has a nice wheeled draw-table, and... drooby hats. No puffy shouldered tunics though. (probably for the best )
Note draw plates on floor. (Weigel)
Historical info from here



  1. god those earrings are great:)

  2. i couldn't really follow the entire technical explanation (mostly because i don't manage to translate it in my mothertongue) but it looks like an intriguing process.

  3. Your earrings are beautiful!
    Visualising the process of rolling the strip between 2 bricks is a bit hard ...