Few people like strings attached when dealing with a business - but in the case of one firm it’s a key part of their work.

Ormiston Wire, which spent 40 years in Ealing and the last 25 in Hounslow, has just provided wire for a new documentary about popular television puppet show Thunderbirds 50 years since they originally helped bring Scott, Virgil, Alan, Brains and Lady Penelope to life.

The puppet heroes of International Rescue were created by Gerry Anderson in the 1960s and soon became huge stars of their time. Producers from AP Films had a problem at the start though, they couldn’t solve the tricky technical issue of how to hide the strings from the viewer.

Ormiston was approached to help and quickly hit on the idea of a very thin yet durable metal filament that would allow electrical signals to pass through to make the eyes move yet still be as invisible as possible.

Workers developed, manufactured and supplied a chemically darkened 0.125mm diameter wire, which was used throughout the series until the Andersons moved into live-action productions in the early Seventies.

'Brains' from Thunderbirds
'Brains' from Thunderbirds
 

If they thought that was the end of their association with the marvellous marionettes however they were wrong as once again the call for help has gone out - and just like International Rescue themselves Ormiston has answered.

A new documentary film about Gerry and Sylvia Anderson called ‘Filmed in Supermarionation’ uses unseen archive footage and new sequences to tell the story in greater depth than ever before.

Directed and produced by Stephen La Rivière, the definitive documentary presents the story of how series such as ‘Thunderbirds’, ‘Stingray’ and ‘Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons’ were brought to audiences around the world.

So once again Ormiston supplied the makers with wire for the filming of new ‘Thunderbirds’ sequences.

The firm began with James Ormiston way back in 1793 at a time when King George III was on the throne, William Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister and France had just declared war on Britain (again!).

Since then it has happily been providing honest work for six generations of the Ormiston family.

It is what is traditionally known in the business world as a ‘specialist’ company and since day one that speciality has been wire.

Copper wire, fishing wire, yachting ropes, braids, strands, you name it and if its a type of wire then they stock it.

The Wonderbra, made famous by model Eva Herzigova in 1994, may be renowned for its use of wire, but when it comes to ladies’ undergarments Ormiston was involved right from its earliest days.

It manufactured springs which were then used to fasten whale bone corsets of the type popular in Victorian times.

Starting in Bristol it moved to Bread Street in London and then to Ealing in 1943 after its factory was bombed.

It set up shop in Broughton Road, behind Daniels department store, and it was from here that it first supplied Thunderbirds.

They moved to their present Isleworth location, Fleming Way off Worton Road, in 1989 and were taken over by current MD Mark Ormiston in 1991.

Ormiston Wire Company has been in business since 1793. Mark Ormiston is the sixth generation to run the Isleworth company
Ormiston Wire Company has been in business since 1793. Mark Ormiston is the sixth generation to run the Isleworth company
 

Nowadays it has a turnover of £1.7 million, employs 14 staff including workers of 50 years service, and won the first Queen’s Award for sustainability in 2002 for its use of solar panels and wind turbines to keep energy costs down.

Mark said: “Only two-three per cent of family businesses get beyond the third generation, so for us to be onto the sixth is pretty impressive.

“As well as Thunderbirds we also helped make Christopher Reeve fly as Superman in the original film series and worked on the Little Shop of Horrors musical film making Audrey the giant plant move and sing in 1986. On top of all that we make the wires which help to power the cars on Scaletrix sets - so we’re pretty versatile.”

‘Filmed in Supermarionation’ will premiere at the BFI later this year ahead of a general release in autumn 2014.

To watch sneak previews of the documentary, click here ( http://networkonair.com/features/2014/04/03/stand-by-for-action/ )