Life in the Old West

True stories, tall tales, memorabilia of the American West

Posts Tagged ‘barbed wire’

Barbed wire brought major changes to the Old West

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013:

One of the simplest inventions of the 19th century, barbed wire (aka “barbwire,” “barbedwire” and even “bobwire”) wrought major changes in the nature and entire culture of the Old West. From playing a significant role in the nature of farming and ranching in the mid- to late-1800s to shaping the look of the entire Western part of the U.S. — particularly the Plains — these bits of barb twisted securely into strands of fencing wire cannot be overestimated.

Barbed wire made it possible to restrict travel across previously open range land. It shaped the location and development of communities throughout the Plains and the West, allowing or limiting access to vital
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Railroads brought people, but fences settled Great Plains region

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012:

While the onward march of the railroads is generally credited with bringing people to the Great Plains, it was only the technology of fencing that made serious settlement of the region possible. According to writer Richard O’Connor in his fascinating history of railroad expansion, “Iron Wheels and Broken Men,” railroads could have been built across and through the Plains as early as the 1850s and filled the region with people — but the development of effective fencing to make the region work for serious farming and settlement of the lands didn’t come along until the 1870s.

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