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"Barbed Wire in the Old West." Topic

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2,007 hits since 2 Dec 2012
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2012 9:28 p.m. PST

"Why would anyone pay $500 USD for a rusty piece of barbed wire? Well, if the 18-inch long specimen, or cut, is the only known example of the Thomas J. Barnes patent of 1907 (shown above), some folks might pay even more than that. In fact, for collectors of barbed wire, or barbwire as it's also called, the past few years have been a veritable rust rush, as choice examples of rare wire that have been squirreled away for decades are entering the market.

This isn't the stuff you see today by the side of the road, although the design of barbed wire has not changed that much in more than 100 years. What gets barbed-wire collectors excited are scarce examples of wire manufactured from 1874 through the first decade of the 20th century, when barbed wire was a multi-million-dollar business and everyone wanted a piece of the action.

The market for wire was driven by the new demand for fencing. Railroads needed to secure their newly laid right-of-ways (the last spike was driven in the transcontinental railroad in 1869), while ranchers were compelled to keep their livestock within property lines rather than letting them graze on the open range, which was increasingly being converted to farmland.

"There was a lot of resentment to barbed wire when it first came out," says Harold L. Hagemeier, whose "Barbed Wire Identification Encyclopedia" is the hobby's official guide. "The old cattlemen did not like it whatsoever. Until then, the ranges had been open. The ranchers sent out special crews to cut the fences and burn the posts, whatever was necessary. That went on for maybe 10 years, probably not even that long. Here in Texas, the governor finally signed a law making it a crime to cut fences, and a lot of other states did the same thing. It was barbed wire that caused those range wars."
Barbed wire tamed the West popularized in our nostalgic view of cowboy culture in the late 19th century. "There were a lot of trail drives out of Texas into Montana and other areas," Hagemeier says. "When barbed wire was put up, it cut off the routes of the trail drivers. According to Karl Parker, a Montana tanner who's posted some of his 400-plus pieces of barbed wire on Show & Tell as barbedwireguy, the late 19th century "was a time when we were expanding westward. Everybody was trying to get into the business of barbed wire because it was big money at that time, millions and millions of dollars. Anybody who could patent a wire patented a wire…"
Full article here.






Hope you enjoy!.


StarfuryXL502 Dec 2012 11:09 p.m. PST

This is the kind of Barb Wire I enjoy:


MajorB03 Dec 2012 2:40 a.m. PST
Eclectic Wave03 Dec 2012 8:35 a.m. PST

The ironic thing is that barbed wire got used by the cattle ranchers as much as, if not more than, the farmers! They could isolate sick cattle, and breeds, they could keep them from wandering which turned out meant that they neede fewer cowboys so they had less men to pay.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Dec 2012 9:31 a.m. PST

There is the museum of barbed wire at Knott's Berry Fram in Orange county LA. Great museum with wagon models too. think it is stil there??? Very close to Brookhurst hobbies too. A full day out!

doc mcb03 Dec 2012 11:26 a.m. PST

In Texas it is called bob wahr.

Whatisitgood4atwork Inactive Member03 Dec 2012 6:49 p.m. PST

Starfury, While the instant visual appeal is obvious, I think I'd rather go to the museum of actual rusty twisted wire than watch that movie again.

CooperSteveOnTheLaptop04 Dec 2012 3:13 a.m. PST

I think I'd rather be tossed by a shell into a thicket of actual barbed wire than watch that film again…

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