Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And now you know where "Wirecutter" comes from.

Above is a fine example of Brinkerhoff Saber Point Ribbon Wire, patented April 18th, 1879.
Directly below it is a Kelly Thorny Wire, the first practical barbed wire, patented February 11, 1868.

Above is a closer view of the Kelly wire that's on the fence below the Brinkerhoff.

You can see that neither one is a true barbed wire that you commonly see today. The Brinkerhoff is a ribbon with the barbs pressed on and the Kelly is actually a sheet metal barb with a strand running through it.
What's really unusual about these two wires shown is the fact that they are both still on a fence on a working cattle ranch at Warnerville, CA, about 10 miles east of Modesto.

There are about 450 different patents with 2000 variations of barbed wire with the Glidden and Baker patents being the most successful and the most common today.

I've been collecting wire for about 10 years now, having bought and sold more examples than I can think of. I've settled down quite a bit lately - it has to be a really rare or fine wire to get me to buy it nowadays.
I have displays in several area museums such as the City of Modesto Museum, the Cowboy Museum in Oakdale, Riverbank Museum and Mariposa County Museum.
And yeah, it can get expensive. I've got several wires that are worth more than $50 for an 18 inch section, and a couple that are worth $100 or more according to Hagemeiers' Barbed Wire Encyclopedia and Price Guide.
The value of the 2 wires shown? They're both worth 50 cents each for an 18 inch section. Common wires, but unusual to see them on a fence nowadays - even more unusual to see them together on the same fence.

See? I'm not such a dumb fuck after all..........