JF Ptak Science Books Post 1394
"Will Cut its Way Through Hun Entanglements" reads the header to the caption for this new photo service war photo from the Central News Photo Service, published nearly at the end of 1918, just a few months before the end of the war. The inventor, John E. Logan, was demonstrating his invention "before senators and representatives of Congress" on a "miniature tank wire entanglement". The "entanglement" wire was much nastier than what you'd think of as the "barbed wire" of today--not concertina wire, but something small and nasty that was meant to catch soldiers, to pin them more deeply in the wire like a sharp metallic quicksand, stopping their advance and making them meat bait for machine gunners and everyone else.
Logan attracted a fair size crowd for his demonstration in the vicinity of the Capitol. His machine seemed to work well, too, cutting through 72 strands of wire in about a half minute. I'm not sure how many of these machines were produced (can't find anything on them offhand) but there would've been a need for a great number of them, given that since there was something like 12-25,000 miles of trenches dug during the war that there must've been millions of miles of barbed wire produced. (That's an off-hand guess, but it probably isn't horribly wrong.)
(The original photo is available for purchase from our blog bookstore, here.)