A type of chain
, made of metal
), formed by a series of
lets, connected by tiny barbels
. The two blobs on the ends of a
barbel are trapped inside two spheres, and the shaft of the barbel links them together.
Ball chain can also be called "bead chain". Is this a UK term?
Ball chain comes in many sizes, from guage 1 (spheres are less than 2 mm) up to guage 20 (spheres
are up to 10 mm).
There are also shape variations -- the spheres can be elongated, eliptical, faceted, etc.
There is a factory that manufactures it in Mt. Vernon, NY. Some outfits sell "ball chain"
which is plastic beads molded onto a string, but that is not nearly as cool as the
Ball chain has many uses: as inexpensive jewelry (a simple big-guage ball chain choker
is very fetching, especially among industrial types), as a keychain, or as a lanyard for
hanging your ID card or backstage pass around your neck. Ball chain and black leather
look nice together -- e.g., large-guage ball chain straps on a black leather bra. Some
researchers with the US Geological Survey have successfully used
ball chain as a way to attach a radio collar to frogs and kangaroo rats to
track them for study (http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/tools/telemtry/ranid.htm).
Ball chain is better than link chain in applications where tangling and twisting are to be avoided. Each
ball in a length of ball chain is a tiny swivel, allowing the chain to twist freely without kinking.