Platinum nanowires of approximately 100 nm in length and approximately 5 nm in diameter have been synthesized by reducing H(2)PtCl(6) with ethylene glycol in the presence of poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP) and a trace amount of Fe(3+) or Fe(2+). The wires were generated at the final stage of the synthesis, which involved the formation of several intermediate species. The Fe(3+) or Fe(2+) ions had dual functions in the synthesis: they induced aggregation of Pt nanoparticles into larger structures that served as the nucleation sites, and they greatly reduced the reaction rate and supersaturation level to induce anisotropic growth. The reaction mechanism was studied by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and UV-vis spectral analysis. The Pt nanowires could be readily separated from the surfaces of the agglomerates by sonication and obtained as pure samples by centrifugation.