The history of barbed wire starts back in 1867, when Lucien Smith of Kent Ohio, made the first barbed wire. Hunt and Kelly patented their wires in 1867. Joseph Glidden acknowledged as “the father of barbed wire” patented his wire in 1874. It has two significant factors in the history of barbed wire, first his wire design was so simple, functional and inexpensive to manufacture that his barbed wire invention is still produced today, and second he successfully waged a ten year court battle defending his patent rights.
Through the years, hundreds of patents have been made and just as many variations of each patent. There are thousands of different wires.
Barbed wire had a hand in taming the west. Unlike the six gun, barbed wire brought the end to the open range, the great cattle drives and also brought on the fence cutter wars of the 1880s, it helped domesticate and bring culture to an otherwise lawless land.
The Colorado Wire Collectors Association, a non-profit organization, dedicated to preserving the history of barbed wire and fencing tools, will be holding its annual show at the Community Center in Walsenburg this weekend. Come by, trade or just browse. There will be barbed wire displays, historical, western memorabilia and something for the ladies too. Bring your barbed wire to be identified. You never know, it could be worth $100 for an 18 inch piece. For more information; call 738-1365 or 989-0201.