Recently I have been changing brake and derailleur cables on a number of vintage bikes. On ocassion I would find a cable which although old, looked very good ( no rust, not dull looking, no broken strands ). It was tempting to reuse the cable with a new housing. Some of these cables cut very easily with diagonal pliers almost as if they were made of a single strand rather than multiple strands. The new cables did not do that. Their strands tend to mash down under the diagonal pliers blades and it took a lot more force to cut them. The difference is pretty substantial.

Just curious if anyone knows if this is an improvement in cables over the last 20-30 years or if it is more likely that this phenoma is caused by work hardening.