Wires can be found…..seems like….everywhere. Any electrical product that demands a current flowing will typically require a wire (or cable). Even when you hear something is “wireless”, wires power the device sending a signal. Electricity traveling through wires bring each of us tremendous joy and pleasure (computers, the internet, music, social media, communication, vehicles, transportation, appliances, etc..). Actually, can you imagine surviving a single day without electricity? Well, in the early stages, electricity did not travel so safely through wires. Thankfully electricity travels safe and sound through wires protected with wire insulation.
The explosive growth of electrical products over a century ago drastically increased the use of wires carrying electricity. Unfortunately, uncovered or exposed wires caused extremely dangerous situations. Exposed wires led to electrical shocks or fire. However, a brilliant move was made to protect and strengthen wires by adding a non-conductive cover. Applying Wire Insulation to protect wires greatly reduced potential hazards and threats.
Wire Insulation Evolution
Taking a look at wire insulation in the 19th century, here is a cool video on porcelain insulators that were used according to the Thomas Edison Tech Center:
Due to increasing demand, electrical products required an affordable and efficient solution to protect wires. Also with the early growth in popularity of wires, a wire harness assembly became necessary. It is much more efficient harnessing loose wires as opposed to allowing a free for all. Especially as electrical consumer goods and the auto industry exploded in the early 20th century.
Insulation serves as a non-conductor that separates and protects wires within a harness assembly. Especially since it is a nasty world out there with many detrimental elements that can cause harm to naked wires. To save the day, an insulated jacket protects each wire from detrimental elements keeping the wire cozy and safe. Insulation protects the wire from water and moisture as well as extreme heat or cold.
Thankfully wire insulation today is much more efficient, effective and affordable. For example, thermoplastic high heat-resistant nylon coated wire (THHN wire) is low cost, light weight, and an extremely popular wire insulation option.
Follow next week as we continue our “Wire Harness Wednesday” blog series on the topic of Wire Insulation. The next three weeks we will discuss how Wire Insulation evolved during the 19th, 20th and 21 century.
To learn about LED Lighting – click on the following blog posts: LED 101, The History of LEDs, Environmental Benefits Using LED Lighting, Falconer Electronics Produces LED Lighting, and Lighting with LEDs vs. Incandescent