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Barbed Wire

Barbed Wire

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Description
In the days of open range, cattle grazed freely over unfenced fields. Fencing especially disturbed western cattlemen who depended upon the open range, including private holdings, for grazing. Farmers fenced animals out of their crops, but as farm size increased and agriculture spread across the west, farmers needed a cheap substitute for scarce wood and stone. In 1874 Illinois farmers Joseph Farwell Glidden, Jacob Haish, and Isaac Ellwood almost simultaneously developed methods of attaching barbs to wire, a type of fencing that effectively kept cattle out of cropland. Despite patent fights and fierce competition, the barbed wire industry was launched and over time reconfigured rural geography. Both film and fiction depicted the often violent disagreement over fencing.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
barbed wire
date made
1883
maker
Goss, Joseph
ID Number
AG.66A1.045
catalog number
66A1.045
accession number
264475
See more items in
Work and Industry: Agriculture
Work
Artifact Walls exhibit
Agriculture
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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