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The iron wire used to tie around hay bales to keep them from coming apart. In the horse-powered era, the wires were precut to length and came with a loop at one end. The wire was reasonably soft so that it could easily be slipped around the bale and tied. Cast-off wires from the bales became a mainstay for various farm repairs. With the advent of power balers, the wire was somewhat stiffer and supplied in rolls.