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Wire That Fenced the West, The

McCallum, Henry D. And Frances T.

6 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0806106514 / ISBN 13: 9780806106519
Published by University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, 1965
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Green Toad, Books (Pahrump, NV, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Large black ink mark on bottom of the title page which has bled through to the copywrite page. Another on the inside front cover. Apparantly covering the former owner's name. Otherwise this would be a fine copy. No other defects noted. A history of barbed wire. This fourth printing was published in 1972. Bookseller Inventory # 7887

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Wire That Fenced the West, The

Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma

Publication Date: 1965

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: Fourth Printing

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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