Barbed wire, also known as barb wire, is a type of fencing wire constructed with sharp edges or points arranged at intervals along the strand(s). It is used to construct inexpensive fences and also on walls surrounding secured property. It is also a major feature of the fortifications in trench warfare.
A person or animal trying to pass through or over barbed wire will suffer discomfort and possibly injury. Barbed wire fencing requires only fence posts, wire and fixing devices such as staples. It is simple to construct and quick to erect by even an unskilled fencer.
The most successful barbed wire was patented by American farmer Joseph F. Glidden of DeKalb, Illinois in 1874. It was an improvement on earlier less successful pointed wire products such as that invented in 1865 by Louis Jannin of France.
Barbed wire was the first wire technology capable of restraining cattle. Wire fences were cheaper to erect than their alternatives and when they became widely available in the late 19th century in the United States they made it affordable to fence much bigger areas than before. They made intensive animal husbandry practical on a much larger scale.
Sports and entertainment use
Barbed wire is used in the professional wrestling "barbed wire match". In some promotions the barbed wire is fake while in others it is very real. It was evident that the barbed wire was real during the Hardcore Homecoming professional wrestling tour and the ECW One Night Stand PPV with one particular instance in which wrestler Terry Funk got his arm caught in the wire and had to be very carefully cut out of the barbed wire in order not to cut his veins in his arm. It has also been used in hardcore wrestling promotions such as Extreme Championship Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling. Companies such as WWE and WCW have been reported to have been using "clipped" barbed wire throughout their existences, whereas companies like CZW, XPW, FMW, IWA-MS and IWA-DS use the real barbed wire.
In other cases the barbed wire may be real, but rarely if ever used, such as the "Barbed Wire Cage Match" between wrestlers John "Bradshaw" Layfield and The Big Show. The barbed wire was placed at the top of the cage, thus making it impossible or very painful to escape the cage by climbing out. The wire was never used fully but once when John "Bradshaw" Layfield made a single attempt to escape and 'caught' his forearm on it to test if it was real.