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Joseph F. Glidden and the Contentious Invention of Barbed Wire

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Joseph Glidden is known as the father of barbed wire, but who actually invented it was a matter of disagreement. As a consequence, Glidden's invention was embroiled in legal battles for years. 


  • “Barb Fence: Its Utility, Efficiency and Economy : a Book for the Farmer, the Gardener and the Country Gentleman.” Washburn & Moen Manufacturing Company. Lucius P. Goddard. Accessed online:
  • “Barbed Wire.” The Burlington Hawk-Eye. May 3, 1879.
  • “Barbed Wire.” Chicago Tribune. Dec. 22, 1880.
  • “Barbed Wire: The Saga.” Joseph H. Glidden Homestead.
  • Boardman, Mark. “The Winner.” True West. Sept. 22, 2022.
  • Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Joseph Farwell Glidden". Encyclopedia Britannica, 6 Mar. 2024,
  • “Dekalb Gets New Hospital.” Republican-Northwestern. Oct. 30, 1906.
  • Glover, Robert. “The Haish-Glidden relationship.” Jacob Haish Story. April 22, 2018.
  • Haish, Jacob. “"A Reminiscent Chapter from the Unwritten History of Barb Wire Prior to and Immediately Following the Celebrated Decision of Judge Blodgette, December 15, 1880.” Accessed via Jacob Haish Story:
  • Harford, Tim. “'The devil's rope': How barbed wire changed America.” BBC. Aug. 6, 2017.
  • “HISTORY OF DEKALB.” City of Dekalb.
  • Joseph F. Glidden Homestead and Historical Center.
  • McCallum, Henry D. “Barbed Wire in Texas.” The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, vol. 61, no. 2, 1957, pp. 207–19. JSTOR,
  • Rumrill, Alan. F. “A Moment in Local History: Joseph Glidden’s Invention.” The Keene Sentinel. Aug. 19, 2023.
  • “Story of Barb Wire.” Belvedere Daily Republican. Jan. 11, 1906.
  • “The Washburn & Moen Maufacturing Company … “ Chicago Tribune. Nov. 13,1876.
  • “WASHBURN & MOEN MANUF'G CO. et al. v. BEAT 'EM ALL BARBED-WIRE CO. et al.” U.S. Supreme Court. Accessed via Cornell Law School:


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