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A pointed look at barbed wire (photos)

The Devil's Rope Museum on Route 66 in McLean, Texas, is full of prickly, pointy, and rusty goodness.

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Amanda Kooser

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Nest of wire

This crow's nest has barbed wire integrated with the vines and twigs. It is one of the more unusual pieces on display at a museum dedicated to barbed wire on Route 66 in McLean, Texas.
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Barbed ribbons

Barbed wire comes in many different forms. Some are the traditional twisted style with barbs, while others look more like sharpened ribbons. Thousands are collected under one roof on Route 66.
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Barbed wire wheels

A series of barbed wire wheels trace the history and development of the fencing material at the Devil's Rope Museum in McLean, Texas. The sheer variety of styles is a testament to human ingenuity and the creativity needed to get a new patent on an old idea.
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Barbed wire hat

Barbed wire isn't just for fences. Many ambitious artists have created sculptures using the material--and, presumably, a good pair of gloves.
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Close-up

An extreme closeup of a sample of barbed wire at the Devil's Rope Museum on Route 66. The first recognizably modern barbed wire was patented by Joseph Glidden in 1874.
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Close-up on wheel

A close-up look at one of many wheels of barbed wire on display at the Devil's Rope Museum. The museum features thousands of samples of barbed wire throughout history.
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Mule-powered wire stringer

Before pickup trucks became workhorses, mules were used to aid in the installation of barbed wire fences. This replica of a mule-powered wire stringer can be seen at the Devil's Rope Museum on Route 66.
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Fence-making machine

Stringing wire fences was a time-consuming activity. Inventors came up with a variety of clever fence-making machines to tackle the problem.
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Compacted wire

This compacted hunk of barbed wire would have been destined for recycling. Instead, it greets visitors at the Devil's Rope Museum on Route 66 in McLean, Texas.
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Devil's Rope Museum

It's like a huge ball of twine, only much more pointy.

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