The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 209
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Barbed Wire in Texas
the arc, and on the map as the upper right border of the exhibit.
The ribbon wire is a flat 3/-inch heavily galvanized strip with
vertical barbs clamped on at 4 -inch intervals.
The over-all arrangement of the map display is made to show
three categories or time-groups of barbed wire. The first (lower
left) is the vicious type with barbs so sharp or long that cattle
would be cut and would perhaps "learn a lesson." Second is
obvious wire which was made to be so easily seen that cattle
usually would avoid contact. In some examples of the obvious
type, it is the wire which is large and readily visible, in some it
is the barb; but in each example, the barb is fashioned for the
purpose of scratching or scraping rather than cutting. Third is
the modified type of fencing made of average sized wire with
barbs that are neither large nor vicious. Styling of this type was
based on the assumption that cattle were becoming accustomed
to the wire and would avoid contact.
Everyone is familiar with the earlier types of fencing. Rock
and rail fences were undoubtedly the first types used in this
country, and they, along with some plank fencing, were sufficient
until settlers moved westward to prairie lands that were usually
barren of rocks and trees. In the absence of these raw materials,
it was necessary to fashion a substitute. Hedges seemed to meet
the need. In fact, Osage orange or bois d'arc trees were native to
some parts of the Southwest, and Cherokee rose or briar hedges
were also to be found. The bois d'arc came to be in such demand
between the years 1850-188o that for a time the gathering, cut-
ting, washing, drying, and shipping of the seed to be planted as
hedge fences became a thriving little industry." Bois d'arc seed
sold as high as $5 per pound and $8o per bushel in Illinois.4
The price in Texas was $25 per bushel. The hedges were widely
advertised as being "horse high, bull strong, and pig tight."
The first wire used in fencing was smooth or slick.5 It had no
barbs. Of the five types of smooth wire shown on the half-wheel
exhibit, two are of the single strand variety which was used ex-
tensively in the early days. Of these two, the heavier gauged
and better galvanized specimen came from the King Ranch in
aSee Figure 7. Courtesy of Mrs. Evelyn Hornsby Mims.
4Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Plains (New York, 1931), 292.
5See Figure 1o.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/257/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.