This section is from the book "An Elementary Outline Of Mechanical Processes", by G. W. Danforth. Also available from Amazon: An elementary outline of mechanical processes.
Drawing hardens wire and the hardness differs in degree according to the composition of the wire and the amount of reduction without annealing. Wire which is not annealed after drawing is called "bench-hardened" wire. Steel wire containing as high as 1.20% per cent of carbon is drawn cold, and this may, if desired, be made harder just as steel tools are hardened. High-carbon steel wire is generally marketed in straight lengths of a few feet, annealed, and it is hardened as may be desired by the user.
Flat wire or ribbon wire, containing about .9% of carbon, such as is used for clock and watch springs, is drawn the same as round wire, though the large sizes for coiled springs must be rolled. This material is hardened and tempered while winding it from one reel to another. It passes through an oil flame to heat it to redness, then through cold fish oil to harden it, and last through molten lead, kept at a fixed temperature by oil burners, to anneal it. The hardness cannot be such that the material will snap if rolled into coils.
Wire is very soft and pliable if thoroughly annealed after drawing.