The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

Wires are some of the most basic components of the modern world, which practically guarantees that most of us take them for granted. But as English Russia so kindly shows us, the process behind our messy heaps of wiring is anything but ordinary.

The photos, taken by E. Golovach, give us a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the often beautiful process of copper wire production. Plus, if you've ever wondered how all your dirty, recycled copper bits manage to be turned into something that's actually useful, herein lies your answer.

We've included some of our favorite factory scenes below, but you can head on over to English Russia to check out the full set of fiery photos. [Enineering-RU via English Russia]


It all starts with a rusty heap of scrap metal. Anything containing copper will do...

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

...because any extra casings burn off when it gets melted down into copper soup.

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

To get temperatures up to boiling, factory workers inject oxygen under extremely high pressures.

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

The molten copper (which still contains quite a few impurities) starts flowing into molds.

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

Apparently, the temperatures were so high that the camera snapping photos was even damaged at this point.

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

The molds are then dipped in water to cool down to manageable temperatures.

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

The cooled molds get sent off to shed their impurities in giant electrolysis baths.

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

And out come these much prettier copper sheets.

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

To be made into wire, this copper gets sent out to a new shop to be melted down once again.

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

The pure, molten copper is cooled and shaped into a large snake.

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire

At which point it gets stretched and stretched until it's thin enough to meet the necessary diameter.

The Incredible, Fiery Process of Making Copper Wire