The beginning for the need of barbed wire was seen in the year of 1867 as a few men applied, that year, for patents pertaining to restraining wire with sharp points to turn and to hold livestock.
The first wires were made on coffee mills, grind stones and some were even made in blacksmith shops. Some of the early wires had signal plates and wooden blocks and such so the livestock could see the wire.
From 1867 until 1880, hundreds of wires were patented. As WW1 came up, there was wire manufactured to stop or slow up troops on the battlefields. As time progressed and steel companies began putting wires on the market, two and four point wires became most common. So, through the many years that wire has existed, there have been many types, starting from a coffee mill and growing into one of the truly large businesses of the world.
See the barbed wire display at both the Wapsipinicon Mill (100 1st St. W Independence, Iowa) and Heartland Acres Agribition Center (2600 Swan Lake Blvd. Independence, Iowa).