Fencing might not form a large part of your daily thought process, but if you are in the market to purchase a fence, it might help to know a little about the basic history.
How and why were the first fences developed
The original purpose of fencing can be discovered by tracing the etymology of the word itself. Coming from “fens”, which is a Middle English abbreviation of “defens” (defense), there is a clear indication to the original use of fencing as a protective mechanism.
The very first fences might have been used to shelter important areas or property from trespass, or in agriculture to separate areas of different crop growth.
In Ancient Greece and Rome, after conquering new land, people would construct fences around land to signal that it was now under their ownership.
Although there is little documentation, it is generally agreed that the first fences were made from wood or stone. This makes these materials a great choice when considering a natural, traditional-looking fence that will stand the test of time.
How did fences change through recent history?
By the 1800s, new styles of fences were being developed. At the DeKalb County Fair in 1870 Illinois, some of the first barbed wire fencing was introduced. Originally, barbed wire was used on farms to keep cattle safe and secure.
Barbed wire is created by twisting two thin pieces of metal together to create regular spikes. These can inflict discomfort and injury on any human or animal trying to scale the fence.
Since initially being used in agriculture, barbed wire has become a popular modern day option for prison fences. Usually placed atop high walls, this barbed wire fence serves an extra layer of security against people moving in or out of the prison.
Also frequently used in agriculture, electric fencing was developed in the 1950s. This delivers an uncomfortable but unharmful electric shock to any animals attempting to leave their fenced off area. Soon, the cattle learns to associate touching the fence with the electric shocks, so it remains inside its allocated land without issue.
How are modern day fences made?
Some popular materials for fences today include vinyl, iron, wood and chain link. These all offer different benefits, but vinyl makes for a particularly cost-effective synthetic fencing material. Vinyl fencing became widely used in the 1980s for keeping horses confined.
Today, fences come in all shapes and sizes. From the highly-decorative structures surrounding Buckingham Palace in London, to the ancient stone making up the Great Wall of China, fences play a large part in our global culture.
Jack Vale is a writer from Happy Writers, Co.