Does a fence keep in or keep out? The question invites more to ponder than you might first think. And can something as simple as a fence (not a solid structure, like the Berlin Wall) change the course of history? The answer to the first question is “either”; yes, to the second question.
The use of barbed wire transformed how the open ranges of the emerging West in the United States came to be used. Doing so shifted the pages of history. At Northeastern Fences, we are not claiming to break ground or change destiny. But we’re glad to share a few notes on the historical importance of fencing. As we do so, maybe one of our products will strike your fancy. If nothing else, perhaps we will both learn something.
Early American pioneers on the Plains and reaching to the Southwest and West were cowmen who encountered vast grassy plains populated by herds of wild buffalo and other cattle. The cowmen lived by a rough and unwritten code of land ownership. Enormous herds of cattle ate and wandered on free and open parcels of natural rangeland. The cattlemen considered it their right to do so in unfettered fashion.
Barbed wire fencing changed all that.
For many years, farmers had used fencing to protect their crops from intruding animals. It’s still the case, even sometimes on a residential scale (keeping deer or rabbits out of your garden, for example). But by the late 1870s, barbed wire fencing had been developed to a point where it was much cheaper and easier to install than lumber fencing. The effect was transformative. In significant ways, the widespread use of barbed wire fencing pitted farmers against cattle ranchers. The economic stakes were high.
Curiously, entrepreneurs from Illinois, Henry Sanborn and Joseph Glidden (the father of modern barbed wire), made a huge mark in Texas, where cattle ranches sprawled for miles. In a new turn of events, ranches were using the newly developed form of barbed wire fencing (marketed and promoted by the Illinois businessmen from the Midwest) to keep livestock within defined boundaries. More or less as a showcase for this new use, approximately 150 miles of barbed wire fencing were successfully employed to contain 1500 head of cattle — at a cost far less than under any previous wood or metal fencing.
Cattlemen began to see advantages and benefits of this new livestock-confining use of barbed wire fencing. Soon, the use of cattle-proof fences was embraced by cattlemen and farmers alike. In today’s parlance, many saw it as a “win-win” for both.
How can fencing be a win-win for you?
As experienced fence and enclosure experts in the Capital Region, eastern New York and western Massachusetts, Northeastern Fences can help you. Whether you need to keep intruders out or protect that which must be confined, we have fencing solutions tailored to your needs. From agricultural to ornamental fencing, we have what’s right for you.
Northeastern Fences offers fencing solutions from the purely functional to the eye-catchingly aesthetic. Call (518) 767-9316 today! Now that the Wild West has been tamed, let’s enhance our beloved Northeast — one residence or business at a time.