Relic of the Old West

How much do you know about barbed wire? The very idea of barbed wire fences has a fascinating history. Railroads and farmers put up fences, and ranchers, who were used to open spaces to drive their cattle, tore them down. Manufacturers were making lots of money selling barbed wire, and each had a different barb design.
While cattle ranchers sparred with farmers, the legal system was tangled by lawsuits over barbed-wire patents. Almost from the moment Jacob Haish and Joseph Glidden filed their first patents for barbed wire in 1874, the two men were squaring off in court. That same year, a hardware-store owner named Isaac Ellwood bought a 50-percent share in Glidden’s patent for $265. By the time the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Glidden’s favor in 1892 (his “Winner” design is used on most fences today), hundreds of patents for as many designs of barbed wire had been filed, and many more unpatented variations were on the market.

Now those rare early designs are highly sought by collectors. Yes, there are barbed wire collectors, as well as barbed wire clubs, museums, and conventions, as you'll see in this article at Collectors Weekly. Link -Thanks, Lisa and Ben!

(Image credit: railman)

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