Wire and Its Uses: A Brief History

Wire and Its UsesThere are those who claim that strung wire cable has been around since the days of the Pharaohs in Egypt as far back as two thousand years. The problem with this claim is the lack of documentation to go along with it outside of hieroglyphs, which don’t mention it.

That brings us to the late 1900s, when we do have documentation of the first-time wire had been applied for fencing purposes. Here is a brief history behind wire and its uses for those interested to know.

The 1863 Wire Discovery

Prior to the year 1863, fencing for livestock knew nothing of barbed fencing. This is where Michael Kelly received his idea, not to add barbs to the existing slats and posts but to use wires. So, he threaded wires for extra resilience and added barbs for every several feet of wire to replace the existing wooden fence. Unfortunately, because he never had a patent for it, he never received credit for his invention, and it was taken over by a new group of individuals ten years later.

The Wire Patent is Made

In 1873, at the county fair in Dekalb, IL, a man by the name of Henry M. Rose presented his idea for spiked rails to go along fences to stop livestock from attempting to jump their fencing. This would be the prototype that would spark the idea for barbed wire once and for all.

Introducing Barbed Wires

Three individuals caught wind of this while at the fair by the names of Joseph Glidden, Jacob Hood, and Issac Ellwood. All but Ellwood would go on to patent barbed wire invention as he wanted to claim it for himself, and legal battles were had where Glidden and Hood would ultimately go on to win the patent and fabricated the idea that they could start producing it for sale.

The Winner

Glidden was awarded the patent on November 24, 1874, when they would go on to call their creation “the winner.” They would then go on to open their own production line and company, which they would aptly name “The Barb Fence Company,” where they would mass produce barbed wire as it is known today along with other fencing equipment to accompany your projects such as barbed wire clips, to go along with your fencing and wiring.

Wire is used for an assortment of things today, from springs to arts and crafts, tools, and even welding. There are so many ways to use wires, and we have come a long way from the original idea of what it should be. So, this has been a brief history behind wires and its uses, and we hope Cat’s Claw Fasteners has given you a little more information on the history of wire that you had not been aware of before. Be sure to check out our shop to view our products for your wire fencing.


Eager to learn more? Cat’s Claw Fasteners is your partner! Contact our Head Cat Collector, Chava, by email at chava@catsclawfasteners.com. Stay informed with our blog posts and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube for more insights!

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