Barbed wire

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Barbed wire landscape
MFA# 2001.3


A fencing wire with double-pointed barbs attached at regular intervals. Barbed wire was patented in 1867 and a machine was made for its manufacture in 1873 by Joseph Gidden in De Kalb, Illinois. Barbed wire quickly became important for farmers, ranchers, and military operations. It is made from galvanized steel wire for rust resistance. Some varieties of barbed wire have two or three twisted wire strands for strength.

Synonyms and Related Terms

barb wire; barbwire; barbed-wire; fence wire; razor wire; devil's rope; ostnatý drát (Ces.); Stacheldraht (Deut.); fil de fer barbelé (Fr.); prikkeldraad (Ned.); piggtråd (Nor.); drut kolczasty (Pol.); taggtråd (Sven.); arame farpado (Port.)

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 353
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998