Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Fence Week: More Facts and Trivia


This brings to an end Fence Week, tomorrow something different.

Today, somemmore fencing facts and trivia . . . 


Barb wire fences:

According to historian James Roark, the invention of barbed wire changed America’s west by “revolution[izing] the cattle business and sounded the death knell for the open range.” That also meant the end of the traditional American cowboy.

Before barbed wire, such fencing as there was used timber and single strand wire but mostly cattlemen used the system referred to as “open range”. Cattle freely roamed and grazed, restricted only by canyons, rivers, and other natural barriers. Cowboys kept the herds within the owner's range, doctored and branded them, and protected them from predators and thieves. In spring and autumn the cattle were rounded up en masse, sorted according to brands and taken by their respective owners, to southern ranges in spring and to market in autumn. 

Practical barbed wire appeared in 1868, created in New York by Michael Kelly. Because it used very sharp spikes, which often caused injuries to horses, cattle, and men, it was nicknamed "vicious" wire and by Native Americans as “the Devil’s Rope”. In 1874 Joseph Glidden patented a more marketable "obvious" barbed wire (with larger, dull-pointed, and safer barbs). 

Cattlemen began using barbed wire to secure their own livestock and to keep them out of areas. As homesteaders and other settlers moved into newly opened regions, they fenced their fields with barbed wire, often resulting in conflict. Cattlemen frequently found their open range stock routes now fenced with barbed wire and blocked. This led to disputes known as the range wars between open range ranchers and farmers in the late 19th century. These were similar to the disputes which resulted from enclosure laws in England in the early 18th century.

The spread of barbed-wire fencing spelled the end of the open-range cattle industry and the roundup circuit as well. 

Fencing of grazing land has facilitated the development of high-grade, registered cattle breeds, such as the Hereford and the Angus, that produce superior, more marketable beef. The open range gave way to the enclosed pasture, and "ranching" became "stock-farming." 

From Wikipedia:
Barbed wire is often cited by historians as the invention that truly tamed the West. Herding large numbers of cattle on open terrain required significant manpower just to catch strays, but with an inexpensive method to divide, sub-divide and allocate parcels of land to control the movement of cattle, the need for a vast labor force became unnecessary. By the beginning of the 20th century the need for significant numbers of cowboys was not necessary.

Safety barb wire ad, c 1895


Wattle fences:

Fences made of wattle have historically been a popular means of fence construction in Britain and numerous other countries, still being used to this day. The fences are made by weaving thin branches (either whole, or more usually split) or slats between upright stakes to form a woven lattice. The technique goes back to Neolithic times, 

A woven wattle gate keeps animals out of the fifteenth-century cabbage patch


The Trump Wall:

The Trump wall is a proposed expansion of the Mexico–United States barrier which President Trump promised as an election promise. In January 2017, Trump signed Executive Order 13767, which formally directed the US government to begin attempting wall construction along the Mexican border using existing federal funding. In September 2019, Trump said he planned to build 450–500 miles of new wall by the end of 2020. On December 17, 2019, acting Commissioner of U.S Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan stated that 93 miles of new wall has been built during the Trump administration; according to CBP figures, at least 90 miles of that replaced existing structures. A private organization called We Build the Wall has constructed .5 miles (0.80 km) of new wall on private property near El Paso, Texas, with Trump's encouragement. 

President Donald Trump tours a section of the southern border wall on Sept. 18, 2019, in Otay Mesa, Calif.

Unveiling of the first section of the Trump Wall, October 2018

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