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What is Wire Binding?

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  • Written By: Jennifer M. Cogan
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Wire binding is a simple, relatively new method for binding documents. Even before the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press in the late 1400’s, cultures around the world were binding hand-written texts and creating books for posterity. The process of binding material together has been a cultural mainstay since it was introduced in India before the first century, when religious documents were etched into palm leaves and bound together with string.

Today, many different ways of book binding exist, from the very intricate to the very simple. Wire binding is one way of binding books together. A popular method for booklets, some spiral notebooks, calendars and other small readers, wire binding is a binding technique primarily used in North America and is generally inexpensive.

To wire bind a book, the pages must first be punched through with a machine that is similar to a three-hole punch, but has several more holes per inch. Some binding machines punch three holes per inch, and others punch two holes per inch. These are called pitch ratios and are referred to as either a 2:1 Pitch or a 3:1 Pitch, and the holes punched can be square, round, or rectangular.

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A less common punching method used today is called 19-loop wire, which was designed to be used with a comb binding machine rather than a wire binding machine. Because the company who distributed these 19-loop wires was bought out, this product was discontinued and has fallen out of ordinary use. This type of binding was typically called spiral-o binding.

After the pages to be bound are punched through, a C-shaped wire spine is inserted in to the wire binding machine, and the pages are slipped over one end of the C-shaped spine. Through manual efforts, generally by pulling a lever, the spine is then closed together, forming an O-shaped spine, and the finished product can be removed from the machine. Wire binding allows for a publication to be laid completely flat on a table or desk.

There are several other names by which wire binding is currently known. They include wirebind, twin loop wire, ringwire, wire-o, double-o and double loop wire. Machines for personal use can be purchased through online companies or at office supply stores. These machines tend to be manual. Wire binding machines that are used in larger companies and are therefore put to work in greater capacity and quantity can be purchased as well, but are generally electric and work much more quickly than a typical manual wire binding machine.

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