Bare wire on old dryer or stove circuit: neutral or ground?

In an old 3-hole stove or clothes dryer outlet that has a wire with 2 hots and a bare, stranded wire wrapped around them, is that stranded wire to be treated as a ground wire or a neutral wire if it is wired to a sub-panel with properly separated ground and neutral lugs?

Is this a fine point or can it be a more significant safety issue (backflow of current, etc.)?

ground wire

Thanks, Charles. That was quick. And was what I thought. But I wasn’t sure on account of the presence of clocks, timers, etc. on stoves, which I figured might require 110-120V.

I know what you mean about the clocks etc. That is why it is not allowed anymore.

So then do the clocks, timers, etc. cause the bare wire to carry current?
Or do are they designed to run on 220-240V, perhaps via a transformer within the appliance?

So then do the clocks, timers, etc. cause the bare wire to carry current?
I would expect so----however small. Again that is why it isn’t allowed anymore.

Sorry guys but this is all wrong.
The braid on old type SEU cable is most definitely a neutral conductor. These are 120/240v circuits, NOT simply 240v. The braid is the neutral and the case of the applaince (ground) was allowed to be bonded to the neutral in older codes, thus eliminating the need for a separate ground to be run.
There is no mandate to require these circuits to be upgraded as existing circuits which were legal when installed are still legal.
Thing is it was never legal to run these types of circuits from sub-panels. They were required to originate from the service equipment.

ANY conductor that carries current is either and ungrounded (hot) conductor, or a grounded (neutral) conductor. NEITHER is a ground (grounding condcutor).

250.60 from the pre-96 code said you could use the “groundED” conductor to ground the frame of ranges and dryers. It required that this circuit originate in the service panel and that except for SE cable, the grounded conductor shall be insulated. That is why you frequently saw 10/3-wg romex feeding the 3 prong receptacles. Typically they landed the bare on the backstrap or box and used the white on the receptacle grounded terminal.

I still remember using #8al SEU cable for dryers. Very common back then.

SE was the exception to an insulated grounded conductor but you still couldn’t come from a sub with 3 wires.