What Are The Uses Of Barbed Wire Fencing?
The original barbed wire fencing patent was filed in 1874. It was an improvement on the earlier wire-fence options that were already out and in production at the time. Barbed wire fencing as we now know it was the first wire fencing product that was effective in restraining livestock. In fact, that’s still its primary use today.
When barbed wire fencing was introduced into the United States market, it quickly took off due to its effectiveness and affordability. Barbed wire fencing promptly replaced the ineffective wire fence options. Due to the struggles farmers faced with growing and maintaining Osage Orange 'living fence' cattle hedges, barbed wire was an excellent alternative fencing choice.
Osage orange is a plant that grows strong, but also thorny. It's functioned to keep the livestock back in the same way that the barbed wire fencing did, but it’s a living plant, and plants take more maintenance and effort to turn into a fence than a roll of barbed wire fencing does. Osage orange especially is difficult to transplant, design, cultivate, and grow into a shape that was helpful as a fence.
The addition of barbed wire fencing made it more accessible to keep and raise livestock and cattle, which in turn made way for the more extensive and intensive animal husbandry practices to take place. It was affordable enough that a farmer could save enough money to buy an extra cow and build a fence around the spare pasture to keep it from running away.
Barbed wire fencing is simple to construct, and only requires the fence-posts, the barbed wire, and either staples or nails to secure it to the fence. It’s such a simple fence system to install that it quite often doesn’t require a whole professional contracting team to build it, just a post-hole digger, and some determination.
How The Strength Of Barbed Wire Fencing Is Determined
Barbed wire fencing is surprisingly easy to install, but that ease of installation doesn’t translate to a flimsy fence. Barbed wire fencing is strong enough to deter livestock from simply rampaging through it, which does have as much to do with the sharp and painful barbs as the strength of the wire itself.
The actual strength of the fence is determined by both the materials used and the gauge of the wire. The average gauge for barbed wire fencing ranges between 12 ½ gauge and 16 ½ gauge. Due to the way wire gauge is measured, the 12 ½ is the thicker one and a stronger wire than the 16½ size.
That doesn’t mean that a fence made out of 12 ½ gauge wire is going to be any stronger or more effective than one made with a 16 gauge wire. This is because the strength of a fence is determined just as much by the quality of the nails and staples fixing the wire to the posts, in addition to the heftiness of the posts themselves.