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Stephen Gray and the Invention of Wire

[caption id="attachment_2140" align="alignnone" width="200"]Inventor of Wire Stephen Gray (1666-1736)[/caption]

Stephen Gray, who lived from 1666 to 1736, was a skilled astronomer, instrument maker and electrical experimenter. Out of favor with the brilliant but contentious Isaac Newton, who headed the influential Royal Society, Gray spent most of his life unrecognized. He worked in obscurity, staying with friends and supporters and living in homes for the destitute.

Gray’s early work consisted of astronomical observations, particularly of sunspots. He ground lenses and built a telescope, soon making a number of discoveries and becoming known for his accurate and detailed observations. It wasn’t long before he came to the attention of the English Royal Astronomer, John Flamsteed, who befriended and supported him. But this created a problem for Gray, because Flamsteed was on the wrong side of an extended dispute with Newton, effectively freezing Gray out of the mainstream of English science.

Flamsteed was able to secure for Gray a modest pension, but it was hardly enough to live on. In addition to poverty, ill health became an issue. Nevertheless, Gray pursued his interests, creating for himself an ambitious work schedule and diligently recording his findings.

His defining contributions were in the field of electrical conduction. The first major breakthrough came about by accident. He found that static charges within a glass tube were conveyed outward through wooden stoppers intended only to prevent entry of dust and foreign matter. Gray concluded that electricity could be conducted from one location to another. Perhaps he never envisioned our worldwide system of continental power grids with underground distribution and overhead service drop cables, nor the existence of transatlantic cables that span the ocean, but these were certainly products of his life’s work.

[caption id="attachment_2141" align="alignnone" width="200"]Electrical Transmission Lines Electrical Transmission Lines[/caption]

It wasn’t long before Gray was stringing conductors down hallways from room to room and out windows in the homes of friends who took him in.

At this time, it was assumed by Gray and others that wire would consist of cotton or hemp fibers, which could easily be formed into long strands as needed. These materials were capable of carrying the relatively high static voltages then available. But a problem was the metal hangers used to support these primitive wires. They tended to ground out the electrical energy.

Soon Gray realized that various materials offer greater and lesser resistance to the flow of electrical energy, and he came to formulate a theory of conductors and insulators, although he never used the exact words. His great accomplishment at the time was conveying electricity over distances approaching 1000 feet; Gray would be shocked today to see that you can buy 1000ft spools of THHN Stranded Wire for $130 (after we had explained inflation, of course).

Further experiments led him to a theory of polarity, which encouraged European colleagues to devise a “two fluid” theory of electricity, although the terms positive and negative, implying a flow of particles, came much later.

Gray’s discoveries paved the way for telegraphy, but he was largely unrecognized in his time and in the decades that followed. He spent his final years in a home for the destitute, and it is not known where he was buried. Most likely it was in a common grave in London, in an area reserved for paupers.


By Guest Columnist David Herres

1st Place Winner - Electrical Wire for Off-Grid Hybrid System

Wire And Cable Your Way would like to congratulate Marc Stevens in Nebraska for winning 1st place in our February 2015 photo contest!

Marc used several different wires of ours including our 8/3 SOOW Cord, THHN Copper Wire, and Welding Cable for his renewable energy project.

Here is what Marc had to say:
This project is an Off-Grid hybrid system that includes a 3 kW wind turbine on a 100 ft self-supporting lattice tower and 2.8 kW of photovoltaics on a dual axis tracker. Wire and Cable Your Way supplied us with #8 AWG SOOW for the down tower wiring, #8 THHN for the inverter/charger and solar charge controller wiring, and 4/0 welding cable for the home run battery connections.

renewable energy, 8/3 soow cord, thhn wire, welding cable

Thanks Marc for the excellent photo!

We'd also like to thank all of our other customers who submitted photos this past month! We found great joy seeing what everyone has been working on and we greatly appreciate you taking the time snapping some photos!

Thanks for being a customer!

Until next time,

2nd Place Winner - Electrical Wire for PV Array

Wire And Cable Your Way would like to congratulate Jeff G. out in Virginia who won 2nd place in our February 2015 photo contest.

We absolutely loved the expansiveness of the photo and how the wire was being used.

Here is what Jeff had to say about the project:
This is the "Monkey Bottom" PV array located at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, VA. This is a 2.1 MW array providing supplemental power to the Naval Station. An array of Wire and Cable Your Way products were used to tie the power, monitoring and security systems together by the many contractors who participated in the project and the ongoing maintenance of the system.

electrical wire for PV Array

Thanks for submitting the photo, Jeff!

We greatly appreciate having you as a customer!

Until next time,


Wire And Cable Your Way would like to congratulate John Kielty for winning 3rd place in our February 2015 photo contest!

Although this photo may be a little "out of the box" we really loved the creativity of how the wire was being used.

John uses the copper in our 350 MCM Welding Cable Class K for tree sculptures.

Here is what John had to say:
My project is one of many copper tree sculptures embedded in unique rocks which my wife and I collect from the USA and Canada in our RV travels.
I use only 350 MCM Welding Cable Class K copper wire. Our friends and family seem to enjoy these gifts. These copper trees are set in drilled holes in a nice piece of Sierra Nevada quartz.

350 MCM Welding Cable

Thanks for submitting the photo, John!

We greatly appreciate having you as a customer!

Until next time,

February Photo Contest!


Enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

Send us your project photo for a chance to win $100 gift card and to have your project featured on our site.

Deadline for entries is Saturday, Feb 28. We'll announce the winners on March 3.

  • $100 Visa Gift Card - First Prize

  • $50 Visa Gift Card - Second Prize

  • $25 Visa Gift Card - Third Prize

  • 5% OFF Wire & Cable To Go Products - Honorable Mention





12/3 SJTW 100' Yellow w/ Lighted Triple Tap Extension Cord

12/3 SJTW 100' Yellow w/ Lighted Triple Tap Extension Cord (UL)

Wire and Cable Your Way is happy to offer a new product which is a 12/3 SJTW 100' Yellow w/ Lighted Triple Tap Extension Cord 

Available in 100' lengths this yellow jacket extension cord is excellent for both indoor and outdoor use:

Below are a few more features:

  • 12 gauge - 3 conductor

  • Water & Oil Resistant

  • Flame Retardant

  • Ultra Flexible

  • Abrasion Resistant

Please click here to view the 12/3 SJTW 100' Yellow w/ Lighted Triple Tap Extension Cord>>

If you have any questions please call us at 855-880-8010 or send us an email through our contact page here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Your pal,



Lowered THHN Copper Building Prices

Dear customers,

Due to the drop in copper prices, we have lowered many of our copper wire products.

Many of you will be happy to find our THHN copper building wire at the lowest price we have ever offered the product.

We have also lowered the prices of our XHHW-2 copper building wire and our XLP-USE-2 Copper Building Wire.

Click here for THHN prices >>

Click here for XHHW-2 prices >>

Click here for XLP-USE-2 prices>>

If you have any questions or need info on any of our products please call 855-880-8010.

Thanks for stopping by!

Your pal,




What is the Price of 2/0 Electrical Wire By The Foot?

Does your project require the use of 2/0 electrical wire?  If so you have come to the right place!

Wire & Cable To Go is a leading supplier of electrical wire and cable that offers different types of 2/0 electrical wire by the foot at low costs!

Below are a few of our most popular 2/0 electrical wire products that you can order online and have delivered within a few days:


1.  2/0 AWG XHHW-2 Aluminum Building Wire – Available by the foot!

  • Single conductor Stranded Aluminum Wire


2. 2/0, 2/0 & #1 Triplex Converse Underground Aluminum Cable -  (Direct Burial)

  • Excellent 3 wire 2/0 aluminum wire rated for direct burial


3.   2/0, 2/0 & #1 SER Aluminum Building Wire 

  • Excellent 3 wire 2/0 aluminum wire meant for indoor use only.



1. 2/0 THHN – Stranded Copper Building Wire - available by the foot!

  • Single conductor stranded copper wire


3. 2/0 AWG XLP-USE2-RHH-RHW-2 Building Wire - available by the foot!

  • Sunlight Resistant & rated for direct burial without the use of a conduit


4.   2/0-3/C THHN-PVC Tray Cable with Ground - available by the foot!

  • This cable comes with 3 - 2/0 copper wires plus one ground

  • Tray Cables are rated for direct burial and are sunlight resistant.  These Tray Cables are pretty much multi-conductor THHN wires all under one jacket meant to be buried in the ground without a conduit.


5. If your 2/0 wire needs to be flexible we have several options as well!

Below are a few Flexible 2/0 wires we offer that depending on your application specs may work great!

We cut all these cables by the foot at no extra charge and ship them out the same day when ordered before 3pm cst.  Most customers receive their order within 1-3 business days due to our shipping locations across the country.

If you aren’t sure which 2/0 wire is right for your project please give us a call – 855-880-8010.  We are here to help!

Thanks for stopping by!

Your pal,

2014 Holiday Schedule

Hello Customers!

Below is our 2014 Holiday Schedule:

Wednesday December 24th - 7am-3pm cst

Thursday December 25th - Closed

Friday December 26th - Closed

Wednesday December 31st - 7am-3pm cst

Thursday January 1st - Closed

Friday January 2nd - Closed

Feel free to give us a call at 855-880-8010 if you have any questions.

Happy Holidays!


What is the Oustide Diameter of SOOW Portable Cords?

Are you looking for the outside diameter of a certain SOOW Portable Cord?

If so, listed below are a few popular 3 conductor & 4 conductor SOOW Cords and their OD.

If you are looking for the OD of an SOOW with more than 3 conductors please click here to view our entire SOOW Portable Cord category.

18/3 SOOW Cord Diameter = .365 inches
18/4 SOOW Cord Diameter = .390 inches

16/3 SOOW Cord Diameter = .390 inches
16/4 SOOW Cord Diameter = .420 inches

14/3 SOOW Cord Diameter = .535 inches
14/4 SOOW Cord Diameter = .575 inches

12/3 SOOW Cord Diameter = .535 inches
12/4 SOOW Cord Diameter = .575 inches

10/3 SOOW Cord Diameter = .660 inches
10/4 SOOW Cord Diameter = .715 inches

8/3 SOOW Cord Diameter = .695 inches
8/4 SOOW Cord Diameter = .760 inches

SOOW is a flexible rubber portable cord rated for 600 Volts.  It is weather-resistant with an oil-resistant insulation and an oil-resistant jacket.

We offer all our SOOW Portable Cords by the foot and ship out the same day you order as long as the order is in before 3pm cst. Most customers receive their wire & cable within 1-3 business days.

Please click here to view pricing on all our SOOW Portable Cords>>

Don't hesitate to call 855-880-8010 us with any questions!

Thanks for stopping by!

Your Pal,