Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

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 one’s 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.


vi, 251 pages




Northern Illinois University

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