Starting off simple in 2012 with a basic silhouette of the razor wire that you can find pretty much everywhere in NYC. Note that barbed wire and razor wire are not the same thing. Barbed wire consists of two or more strands of wire twisted together to allow the attachment of (ta-da!) metal barbs. Razor wire, a slightly more recent invention, is a series of metal strips with sharp edges. Razor wire is also sometimes called barbed tape.
In general, barbed wire seems to be used to keep animals put while razor wire is used to do the same for people. Without tools, it’s apparently much more difficult to pass through razor wire than through barbed wire. No surprise, then, that razor wire was originally used around mental hospitals and high security prisons. Military installations only began using razor wire instead of barbed wire in the 1980s, after the development of reinforced razor wire. Earlier iterations of razor wire were easy to bypass with the correct tools.
If you are ever in McLean, Texas, you can visit the Devil’s Rope Museum and learn all about barbed wire and its many iterations. Oh, there’s also a barbed wire museum in Kansas, but it doesn’t have a cool name.
I escaped from New York for a few days this holiday (although I went under the river, not over the razor wire)—and I have returned with renewed dedication to regular posts here. I’m shooting for two posts a week. So see you back here very soon!