Devil's Rope Museum

Everything you want to know about barbed wire and fencing tools.

Brief History of Barbed Wire

Several patents for fencing wire were issued from 1853 to 1867, only one had projecting points.  The first practical "barbed wire" invention came from Michael Kelly of New York in 1868.  His design allowed factory manufacture.  Barbed wire as we know it today, came from the mind of Joseph F. Glidden of DeKalb, Illinois in 1874.  He improvised with various modifications until he came up with a design that would withstand years of court litigation earning him the title of "The Father of Barbed Wire.

The Glidden wire was unique, consisting of one wire holding evenly-spaced barbs along its length.  A second barb-less wire was twisted around the first wire thus doubling its strength, durability and also holding the many barbs in place.

Today, more than 450 patents exist for barbed wire and more than 2,000 types and variations of barbed wire have been found by collectors.  Also coveted are historical documents, photos, wire tools, advertisements, catalogs, patent models, wire medicine samples and memorabilia.

Visit The Devil's Rope Museum and get "GET HOOKED" on collecting barbed wire.