Where do needles come from?
The hollow hypodermic needle dates back to 1853 when an inventor in Scotland (Alexander Wood) started to use it for medicine. All sorts of nasty stuff was dispensed, including concoctions that we don’t want to know about today – one material still used today is inject morphine. www.saferinjecting.net/stuff-enter-the-needle.htm
It was nearly a hundred years later in 1954 that Becton, Dickinson produced the first disposable needles. Jonas Salk injected 1,000,000 children with polio vaccine using these. www.polio.umich.edu/history/salk.html
What is a gage?
The “gage” measurements date back to 1957. Wire still is pulled through dyes and the more dyes the thinner the wire. Originally the number of dyes related to the gage number. Over time with different dyes and better drawing operations this link was broken. Today gage and needles (nozzles) are a little like measuring your weight in stones, but it is still in use. There are also slight differences between different gage systems. Gage is also a measure of the outside of a wire, but in dispensing it is much more important to measure the inside. It is much better to specify the measurement of the inside diameter.
Gage vs Gauge
"Gage" is a variant spelling of "gauge" and the two may be used interchangeably. In general, needles and wire is gage and railroad rails are gauge. There is no difference.
|Gage||ID mm||ID inched|
The word “Gage” or Gauge also has its challenges. There are a number of standards including
Gage Standards to be confused by.
Origin of wire sizing
The way wire is made leads to a “natural” series of sizes. A rod (made in a rolling mill) is heated and pulled through a hole whose diameter is slightly smaller than the rod's. This process is repeated through ever-smaller holes until the wire is as fine as desired (see making wire).
To reduce the number of steps for economy's sake, the manufacturer would like the change in size at each drawing to be as large as possible; on the other hand if the change in size is too great the wire will break while being drawn. Older wire gauges like the Birmingham, Washburn & Moen, and Lancashire came from calling the wire from the first drawing number 1, from the second drawing #2, and so on. Note that the higher the number, the finer the wire.