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McCallum, Henry D and Frances

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ISBN 10: 0806106514 / ISBN 13: 9780806106519
Published by University of Oklahoma, 1972
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Columbia Books, ABAA/ILAB (Columbia, MO, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

McCallum, Henry D and Frances. THE WIRE THAT FENCED THE WEST. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, c1965. fourth printing 1972. 285pp., index, illus. b/w. 8vo. Small dents in lower edge of front cover (look like teeth marks), near fine hardcover in VG+ price-clipped d/j. Bookseller Inventory # 77378

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: University of Oklahoma

Publication Date: 1972

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

About this title


The opening of the American West was a complex process, but as Walter Prescott Webb has demonstrated, some of the forces at work were, in themselves, models of simplicity: for example, the overwhelming fire power of the white man's revolver against the Indian's bow and arrow or single-shot rifle. Now Henry and Frances McCallum have sought to assess barbed wire in the actual settlement of a continent.

Reduced to its simplest terms, barbed wire changed not only American but world-wide concepts of enclosure. Before its invention in 1873, fences were intended to keep animals and trespassers out; after it came into general use, barbed-wire fencing was used to keep animals in. The social and economic consequences, particularly in the competing landholding concepts of cattleman and small settler, may readily be surmised.

At the heart of this chronicle of "bob \A-ire" is the story of three men, who happened to meet and become interested together in a curious sample of armored fencing shown at the i87;3 county fair in De Kalb, Illinois. Each of the three-Joseph F. Glidden, L L. Ellwood, and Jacob Haish- applied for a patent on separate types of wire fencing with barbs, and a new industry was born. By 1900 more than four hundred United States patents had been issued on barbed-wire fencing. Thirty-six of the most important types are described here in detail, with drawings which accompany the text.

But what barbed wire did is in some senses more important than what it was. The hitherto unfenced West, far-ranging, free-ranging, the homeland of big livestock men and the romantic cowboy, began swiftly to fence itself-not, however, without a measure of violence. The ensuing revolution in enclosure is an important part of the story of Western development.

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