In the sixties, the testing of ropes was based upon Maurice Dodéro’s
works. Dodéro used components which related to the carabiner
then in use - a 10 mm diameter standard. John Brailsford realized
that, if he could increase the diameter over which the rope passed
on the top of the nut, he would greatly reduce the risks of cutting
the rope sling at this critical point of contact. A star was born:
the MOAC! Joe Brown, Don Roscoe (of the Rock & Ice Club), John
Brailsford himself and his regular partner, Doug Cook, used them
and found they worked at a level of safety not enjoyed before. In
1962, the first batch of MOACs was cast in Manchester and the guide,
Peter Gentle, hand-finished them. Mounted on 9 mm rope, other sizes
could be obtained by filing them down to reduce their thickness.
Originally, Alan Kimber, a Scots-based friend of John Brailsford,
thought about calling the new nut Johnny, which also is a slang
term for a condom... Ellis Brigham, owner of a chain of outdoor
shops in UK who sponsored the die cast first production run, also
owned a climbing equipment import company, Mountain Activities.
Therefore the name MOAC was chosen for this nut, that many British
and American climbers still carry them for sentimental reasons.
Charles Curtis was probably the first to make wired nuts. He first
climbed on Cloggy in 1959 and collected his first authentic «
nuts ». At this time, he was studying Chemistry at Sheffield.
He graduated in 1961 and moved to the Geology Department where he
started making his Little Mesters in his workshop.
Charles Curtis had not seen wire used for artificial chockstones
but, at the Sheffield University Mountaineering Club, many members
were speleologists who explored the caves in Derbyshire, just a
few miles away.