Barbed wire, also known as barb wire, less often as bob wire or, in the southeastern United States, bobbed wire is a type of steel fencing wire constructed with sharp edges or points arranged at intervals along the strand.
Barbed wire was the first wire technology capable of restraining cattle. Wire fences were cheaper and easier to erect than their alternatives. (One such alternative was Osage orange, a thorny bush which was time-consuming to transplant and grow.
When wire fences became widely available in the United States in the late 19th century, they made it affordable to fence much larger areas than before
Barbed wire played an important role in the protection of range rights.Barbed wire also emerged as a major source of conflict with the so-called “Big Die Up” .
Barbed wire is often cited by historians as the invention that truly tamed the West. Herding large numbers of cattle on open terrain required significant manpower just to catch strays, but with an inexpensive method to divide, sub-divide and allocate parcels of land to control the movement of cattle, the need for a vast labor force became unnecessary.