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Let's Glow!

A few weeks ago, I attended a rave/dance party at a local theatre. The DJ's were great, the lighting was properly colorful and the music frenetic but I noticed one small problem. The dancers were all wearing those wimpy little glow sticks. You know the ones I mean, the sticks you used to get from your mom just before going out Trick-or-Treating. While they looked fine from a few feet away, they lost all appearance of luminescence when view across a dance floor. If only these poor slobs knew about Glow Wire!

Glow Wire is an electroluminescent wire, or el-cable. It emits a bright, uniform 360-degree glow along its length. It is always cold to the touch, waterproof and durable. It can be bent, twisted and even tied into knots! Because it is so thin (2.1mm - just a little less than 1/8 of an inch), it can easily be stitched onto costumes; the power supplies come with belt clips and quick disconnect connectors that allow you to easily replace the batteries in the supply.

So, how does Glow Wire work, anyway? The basic makeup of a piece of Glow Wire is a flexible copper cable that is coated with phosphors and wrapped with two very fine conductors. If you recall my article on UV products, you know that phosphors are chemicals that convert energy (in this case, electricity) into visible light. The conductors and copper cable are sealed inside of a waterproof plastic sheath. This sheath also adds color to the Glow Wire; there are currently seven different colors available.

There are a few technical issues that you should know about when working with Glow Wire. It is not recommended that you cut it to length, because of its very precise construction. Instead, you're best off tucking any excess wire into a seam or pocket. Some customers have been asking if Glow Wire can be powered from a source other than the battery pack. The controller for the twenty-foot kit (#GWK20) does have an input for an AC/DC adapter, but the seven-foot kit must be run from two "AA" batteries. Finally, we've been asked if Glow Wire ever "burns out". The answer is "sort of". Glow Wire will lose approximately 1/2 of its luminosity after about seven years of use. Yes. Seven years. After that, the wire will continue to become dimmer, but will never actually "burn out" completely.

The flexibility and durability of Glow Wire, along with its extremely low power consumption -- the seven-foot kit will run all night on two "AA" batteries -- makes it a perfect solution for costuming. One twenty-foot kit would be enough to outline a performer from head to toe. While Glow Wire is very bright, it looks best in low light situations. If you're planning to use it for costumes or displays for nightclubs, it will work perfectly. If, however, it is going to be used on stage, you may want to talk to the lighting designer to find the best solution. Finally, one situation that is definitely not suited for Glow Wire, outdoor venues in bright daylight. Don 't expect to notice the Glow Wire if it's being used during a Mardi Gras parade at high noon. But on stage, or in a club, Glow Wire will guarantee that everyone notices your costume! 


Theatre Effects Customer Service Department
Theatre Effects, 1810 Airport Exchange Blvd. #400, Erlanger, KY 41018
Phone: 1-800-791-7646 or 513-772-7646 Fax: 513-772-3579


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