from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A wire for stiffening hats and bonnets.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The only insulated wire then known was bonnet-wire, used by milliners for shaping the immense flaring bonnets worn by our grandmothers, and when it finally came to constructing the instruments of the first telegraphic system the entire stock of New York was exhausted.
A piece of bonnet-wire makes the best stem if you wish to give the true viny effect of the growth.
A piece of soft iron bonnet-wire covered with cotton was laid bare and cleaned at one extremity, and there fastened by metallic contact with the clean end of a copper wire.