Wire wrap-History-Custom Design Circuit
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Wire wrapping comes from the tradition of rope splicing. Early wire wrapping was performed manually; a slow and careful process. Wire wrapping was used for splices and for finishing cable ends in suspension bridge wires and other wire rope rigging, usually with a smaller diameter wire wrapped around a larger wire or bundle of wires. Such techniques were purely mechanical, to add strength or prevent fraying.
In the late 19th century, telegraph linemen developed methods of making a wire splice that would be strong mechanically and also carry electricity. The Western Union splice was the strongest of such wire-wrapped splices. The wraps could be coated in solder for even greater strength and to prevent oxidation between the wires.
Manually wrapped wires were common in early 20th century point-to-point electronic construction methods in which a strong connection was needed to hold the components in place. Wires were wrapped by hand around binding posts or spade lugs and then soldered.
Modern wire wrapping technology was developed after WWII at Bell Laboratories as a means of making electrical connections in a new relay being designed for use in the Bell Telephone system. A design team headed by Arthur C. Keller developed the “Keller Wrap Gun”, and the entire wrap system was passed over to Western Electric for execution. After a “make or buy” committee at Western Electric decided to have the hand tool manufactured by an outside vendor, Western Electric sent the tool contract out for bids. Keller Tool of Grand Haven, Michigan, a supplier of rotary hand tools to Western Electric, won the contract and made several design changes to make the tool easier to manufacture and to use. Keller began manufacturing the tools in 1953, and subsequently obtained a license from Western Electric allowing sale of the technology on the open market. The tool was marketed under its original name – since the name of the manufacturer was coincidentally the same as the name of the inventor.
IBM's first transistorized computers, introduced the late 1950s, were built with the IBM Standard Modular System that used wire-wrapped backplanes.
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