Barbed wire is a commonly used product in agriculture, transportation and other industries.
The unique design and structure make this wire creation sturdy – and sometimes feel harmful.
And on this day in history, November 24, 1874, the first commercially successful barbed wire was patented by Joseph Farwell Glidden.
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Glidden was an American farmer originally from Charlestown, New Hampshire.
After growing up and finishing school in Clarendon, New York, he returned to his father’s farm to work, according to Britannica.
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Years later he ended up in De Kalb, Illinois and acquired his own farm.
After seeing a sample of barbed wire at the De Kalb Count Fair in 1873, Glidden decided to improve the product himself – and eventually applied for a US patent.
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But he wasn’t alone.
Two other men also applied for barbed wire patents with their own amendments: lumberjack Jacob Haish and merchant Isaac Leonard Ellwood, according to Encyclopedia online.
However, Glidden was the man who was awarded the patent.
The original patent on barbed wire was filed in the United States in 1867, but Glidden received the patent on the new and improved form in 1874, according to Britannica.
Barbed wire usually consists of two long wires twisted together into a cable.
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The wire is available in many variants depending on the intended use.
“Barbed wire prevents unwanted intrusion and is useful for a variety of containment needs,” says the Home Depot website about store-bought barbed wire.
“It can also be used with chain links or other fence barriers for an extra layer of security.”
Shortly after receiving the patent, Glidden also developed a machine to aid in the manufacture of the new and improved barbed wire.
Glidden then asked Isaac L. Ellwood to join him in starting a fencing company: Barb Fence Company of De Kalb.
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The two worked together to develop the product, which was used to protect livestock on their land.
The option of wooden fences was always there; However, for landowners with hundreds of thousands of acres, it was expensive.
However, barbed wire was cheaper and easier to install.
Just a year after founding the fence company, Glidden sold his half of the business to the Washburn and Moen Manufacturing Company of Worcester, Massachusetts, according to Encyclopedia online.
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Glidden reportedly received more than $60,000 and lifetime royalties on the patent.
Just 15 years after the creation of barbed wire, fenced-in land replaced what was once open territory in the western United States, according to Britannica.