Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
Department of History
As westward settlement accelerated in the years following the Civil War, farmers and stockmen were confronted with a serious fencing problem. A combination of high costs, inadequate materials, and obsolete laws made fencing ones properties an expensive and difficult proposition. By the l870s the topic had been widely debated in the agricultural press, and many efforts had been made at finding a solution. The credit for developing a practical solution to the problem of fencing goes to Joseph Glidden. In DeKalb, Illinois, in 1873, Joseph Glidden was struck with the thought of arming a wire fence with a protruding barb held in place by twisting two wires together. Glidden perfected his "barbed wire," acquired a partner, and began to mass produce his new fence. The fence spread rapidly and by 1880 Glidden*s inventive genius had resolved the problem of finding an inexpensive and effective fence.
McFadden, Joseph M., "From invention to monopoly : the history of the consolidation of the barbed wire industry, 1873-1899" (1968). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 6769.
vi, 251 pages
Northern Illinois University
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