According to Mr Gilbert, it was the Americans that came up with the idea that cables matter.
In this review from Gramophone in 1980 by John Gilbert, a leading recording engineer, reminisced about using lighting flex to connect speakers. Twisted pairs, flexible, insulated, what more could you want? Those were the days. This is what it looks like.
In the UK QED42, then QED79 became all the rage in 1975, and it is still a standard cable. It’s gone up in price, it was about $1/m, it’s now $3/m, not bad for 45 years. QED42 had 42 strands, QED79 had 79 strands and this was for 138 strand cable for longer runs. It was called C38 presumably because in those days people still knew a bit of Latin.
Like a good engineer, he described the engineering issues with cables and what is required, cut off a length and measured its electrical properties, before giving it his seal of approval and guidance as to how it should best be deployed, including using the QED screw-on connectors (were $4 in 1980, now $26).
Plug it in and listen to it? Who on earth would need to do that?