Western Trails Museum
Western Trails Museum
Knott's Berry Farm

Barbed Wire

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Knotts Berry Farm
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Posted March 2022

Western Trails Museum Barbed Wire
Barbed Wire
Collected by Jesse James 3709 E. 56th Maywood, CAL.

Western Trails Museum Barbed Wire Patented 1867 - 1874
Types of Barbed Wire Patented 1867 through 1874:

Patent number 66182 was granted June 25 1867
To Lucien B Smith Kent Ohio. This was the first United States patent for wire fencing armed with projecting points or barbs. It is doubtful that any fencing made to this specification was put on the market or sold privately, later, however, this patent became of prime importance, due to its included feature of defensive equipment.

Patent 74,379 was granted Feb 11 1868
To Michael Kelly, New York for "thorny wire" a wire fencing armed with perforated elongated - diamond shaped two point flat barbs stamped out of sheet iron. This inventor called his structure a thorn or thorny wire, keeping in mind the analogy between his wire and the thorn hedge plant. This wire was never manufactured by Kelly. Some eight years later this patent was sold to a company that was know by "The Thorn Wire Hedge Co" of Chicago and was manufactured and sold extensively for several years after being improved with another line strand, and the two twisted together. The purpose of the second wire being to lock the barbs in place laterally.

Henry M Rose patented his invention May 3 1873
The patent being numbered 138,783 for "wooden strip with metallic points" as an improvement in wire fence. This formed an effective barrier, bit of crude construction when viewed alongside later designs. The idea was worthy of respect however, even though its chief value was in pointing the way to something better soon to be achieved by others.

Rose's invention attracted much attention when he displayed it as a corral fence at a county fair at De Kalb Ill. Three men showed up at the fair who were destined to make barbed wire history. They were Joseph F Glidden, a farmer and inventor, Jacob Haish, an inventor, and Issac Ellwood, a De Kalb hardware dealer. Glidden and Haish independently of each other got the same idea, "Why not a metal wire fence, strung with barbs made of metal wire?"

Patent 157,124, Nov. 24 1874
Glidden rushed home and with the help of his hired hand, Andrew Johnson, he developed patented, and started to manufacture his wire. And so in 1874 Glidden founded the "Barb Fence Co". He sold one-half interest to Issac L Elwood, the hardware dealer of De Kalb for $130, plus $135 to cover on half incidental expenses to date - a total of $265. It was to become one of history's most fantastic bargains.

Patent no 167,240
Jacob Haish also developed and patented a two strand barbed wire similar to Glidden's. This was the famous "S" barb. He had previously patented other barbed wires and he believed Glidden's patent infringed on his patent. He said "If Joe Glidden thinks he's gonna steal my idea, he has another thing comin! I'll sue him!" It was the beginning of a legal battle that lasted nearly twenty years!

Glidden's was the most Popular
Glidden's patent 157,124 not only proved to be more popular than any other style up to that time, but also during the years since then, and still occupies a leading place, made under other trade names now, however. For many years its nearest ranking rival was Haish's famous "S" barbed wire, which was a worthy rival.

Over 400 Patents
The development of the barbed wire industry was accompanied by litigation almost from the start. The demand for barbed wire material was so great, and the outlook for the industry so good, that hundreds of small manufacturers started making barbed wire. Also there were hundreds of "moonshine" manufacturers who infringed on other patents. Between 1867 and 1897 there were over 400 barbed wire patents issued in the United States Patent Office.

Patent 153,965 was granted Aug 11, 1874
To Chas. Kennedy, Hinkley Ill., For a barb to be attached to plain wires. This patent covered finished wire, also the barbs only, to be clamped on with hand pliers, on existing plain wire fence.

Barbed Wire Collected by Jesse James
Collected by Jesse James

Barbed Wire Collected by Jesse James

Barbed Wire Hodges Spur Rowel 1837
  • Stover's Clip 1875
  • Brinkerhoff's Twist 1879
  • Merril's Twirl 1876
  • Kelly's Diamond Point 1868
  • Crandall's Clip 1881
  • Stubble Plate 1883
  • Sunderland's Kink 1884
  • Upham's Coil 1883
  • Glidden's Square 1876
  • Hodge's Spur Rowel 1887
  • Crandall's Telegraph 1876