Twisted Wire in the Woods

Well, I’ve already established that I see wire everywhere (see this blog post), but I surprised even myself when I managed to find twisted wire in the woods.  OK, it’s not twisted electrical wire, but I had to investigate it anyway.

Note that it runs along an old rock wall.  You can tell by the height of the wire how tall the wall was originally.  There were sheep kept in this area, when it was pasture, before reverting to woods, and the height of the wall does seem appropriate for walling in sheep.

I had imagined that this wire was a precursor to barbed wire, used before they had invented the barbs.  But it seems it was used for “thin-skinned” animals, such as sheep and horses, so that animals would not be hurt by barbs.  There are also versions of it with serrated edges and some that have barbs attached to it.  It was patented by Jacob & Warren M. Brinkerhoff of Auburn, New York, and made by The Washburn & Moen Company in Worcester, MA.

Washburn and Moen

In my search to investigate this wire, I found that there exists a Barbed Wire Museum, right here in Massachusetts (because Worcester, MA, was a big wire-manufacturing area, although I think this is a virtual museum only), the Devil’s Rope Museum in Texas, and barbed-wire sections in several other museums around the country.  Who knew that there are more than a few people who collect barbed wire, sometimes donating their collections to said museums?

This wire seems to be called by several names: horse wire, ribbon wire, horse pen wire, horse ribbon wire, Brinkerhoff barbless ribbon, and a few more.

A drawing of Brinkerhoff fencing materials including barbed and non-barbed versions of the ribbon wire.

And, of course, clever people have made lamps and pendants from barbed wire.  The perfect use for our dark brown cotton twisted pair wire.


Anyway, I thought this wire was kind of beautiful, but I am known to be a fan of twisted wire.

twisted fence wire




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