Weird and Unusual Collections Barbed Wire

About a collector of barbed wire, history and description of the collection.



Collector: Jesse S. James, Maywood, Calif.

An Illinois farmer named Joseph F. Glidden invented the first practical barbed wire. When it was introduced in 1874 to protect ranchers' crops and animals, it was greeted with rage by many. It inspired bitter feuds when land boundaries were disputed. However, by the time a decade had passed, the concept of the open range had begun to change, and 120 million lb. of barbed wire were being sold each year.

Since 1957 Jesse James has meticulously categorized and arranged his antique barbed wire specimens on six 1 1/2-by-3-ft. panels, each containing 30 pieces which are 18 in. long. Along with the barbed wire, James has a collection of splices made with rare old wires. James has written a book on barbed wire--Early U.S. Barbed Wire Patents--which has also become somewhat of a collector's item now that it is out of print.

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