Piano wire is a specialized type of wire made for use in piano and other musical instrument strings, as well as many other purposes. It is made from tempered high-carbon steel, also known as "spring steel". Music wire is another name for piano wire: it is used for the cores of strings, which may be wound with other materials. Music wire is used for a variety of stringed instruments that use steel strings, such as guitars.
Music wire evolved from handmade ductile iron to continuously drawn carbon steel by the end of the nineteenth century, and the international competition for higher strength benefitted from demands of consistency from other special wire products like telegraph and barbed wire. Innovative piano makers kept pace with advances in this important auxiliary industry by increasing the size and tensions in their string scales.
Music wire is sold by weight and packaged in tight coils. It springs back to a gentle curve but can be straightened using a series of opposed rollers. It requires careful handling for safety and appearance, since it can be marred by perspiration, and it requires special cutters, as the hardened steel will otherwise quickly dull the cutter.
Piano wire is also used in the fabrication of springs, fishing lures, special effects in the movie industry and for cutting soap. It is also commonly used in hobby applications such as model railroading and both control line and radio-controlled aircraft.
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