As a Director at Croft Filters, wire has been part of my life for a long time. And in more ways than you might think. With our 33.3 anniversary here at Croft Filters coming up (look out for our ‘record’ competition online), I’ve been pondering the development of my career and have realised that wire has played a significant part in it over the years, so I thought for this article I would have a quick delve into the history books – both personal and regional – and see what entertaining facts I can tie in about wire (no pun intended).
COME ON, THE WIRE
Croft Filters, as you may know, is based in Warrington, Cheshire, and is home of the rugby league team The Warrington Wolves – also known locally as The Wire. This nickname comes from the town’s historic links with wiredrawing. Formed way back in 1879, the Wolves’ highlight has probably been the 2005 super league, but the cries of ‘Come on The Wire’ are still heard regularly from fans at their games in the Halliwell Jones Stadium in the town to this day.
FROM FISHHOOKS TO BIRDCAGES
Wire drawing in Warrington goes back a long way and many products were made from hand-wrought wire through the years. Today, we take wire for granted, and it forms an essential part of everyday life in many aspects of mechanical and electrical engineering. The technique involves reducing the thickness of a metal rod by drawing it through a series of holes of decreasing size. All this process is now automated, but in the past, it was done by hand and was consequently a fairly laborious task. From the Romans to the middle ages, hand-made wire-wrapped jewellery was produced on a very basic scale. By beating metal into flat sheets, they could then cut it into strips, hammer and pull it through a stone die with a strong pair of pliers to make the wire, which was then used for bracelets, necklaces and other items of personal decoration. During the middle ages, knights brought wire back to England from Europe for the production of chain mail, an important piece of a squire’s protective kit when going into combat. Wire working was a popular process that took place up and down the country from the early 1600s, and in time wire became used in more and more innovative ways – from fencing masks to fireguards, birdcages to fishhooks. Fast-forward to the Industrial Revolution of the latter half of the 18 century, when Warrington boomed into a large manufacturing town and became known as an important centre for steel (wire in particular) production. The Industrial Revolution changed the production of wire. Whereas it had previously relied on hand production, now it could be woven on looms: with the benefits of steam power new technology rapidly transferred to the wire making process and a type of automated wire weaving developed and spread quickly across the UK. In Warrington, Thomas Locker is believed to be the first person to weave wire mesh on a steam-powered loom. And interestingly, his was the company where I first made my acquaintance with wire.
A BUS STOP AND A DECISION
Looking for gainful employment at the age of 17, I went to the jobcentre in Warrington and was offered a job interview at either Sterling Cables or Locker Wire Weavers. “Which one is closest to the bus stop?” I asked. “Locker Wire Weavers,” was the response from the nice lady behind the desk. And so my journey in wire production started at Locker Wire Weavers making woven wire cloth. In 1986 myself and my brother founded Croft Filters, focusing on retailing mesh and finding practical applications for it. Fast forward to the present day, and here we are at Croft making filters utilising woven wire mesh. By the way – that advice I got about the bus stop was wrong. It wasn’t closest at all. My whole career was based on that misinformation!
MODERN APPLICATIONS FOR WIRE MESH
Warrington today is a highly successful business location and a major centre of employment in the North West and the Northern Powerhouse. And here at Croft Filters, we are specialists in custom filtration. We continuously invest in the latest tools, technology and even the future generations of manufacturing talent. Production includes stainless steel mesh, perforated sheet, wedge wire, fine wire mesh, wire mesh sheets, filter mesh, expanded metal mesh and galvanised wire mesh, with uses ranging from: ° Automotive filters ° Ship filters ° Panels for architectural use ° A vast range of filters and strainers for the pharmaceutical industry, power generation, food and beverage, oil and gas industries. We pride ourselves on being a leading manufacturer of bespoke filters, and our commitment to creating highly bespoke and customised filters means that were always ready to address any problem our customers might have, helping them improve their productivity and efficiency.
With our state-of-the-art tools, award-winning custom filter options and additive manufacturing knowledge, were always on hand to help you accomplish your goals for a more efficient and productive business. If you have a query about filtration, contact one of our team today on 01925 766 265 or email us.