Outside of the engineering world, most people probably have never heard the term "wire rope." After perfecting the skill of making ropes in ancient times, it went virtually unaltered for nearly 2000 years. In the 19th-century, hemp ropes and iron chains were for hoisting; the disadvantage was the proverbial weak link. The mining sector required that ropes be made longer, and stronger by drawing iron into thin rods or "wire." Eventually, steel replaced iron as the preferred building material. The next step was to introduce multi-layer strands made of steel.