Who patented barbed wire first?
The first BARBED WIRE was patented by Lucien B. Smith of Kent, Ohio on 25 June 1867. The barbs protruded from small blocks of wood strung along the wire strand. No example of Smith’s wire has yet been located and it cannot therefore be certain that it was ever manufactured. The following year, however, a patent was taken out by M. Kelly for a twisted two-strand wire with diamond-shaped barbs; this was advertised as providing ‘a strong thorney hedge’. Fences made of ‘Kelly’s Diamond’ are still standing in some parts of America. The invention of barbed wire was a prerequisite to the opening up of the American West, since there was insufficient timber for fencing in its vast cattle-ranches.
Barbed-wire collecting is one of the more esoteric forms of antiquarian pursuit, yet to catch on in Europe, but already a growing activity in the South-western States of the USA. Over 1,500 different varieties of wire have been identified by collectors, and rare examples have been known to fetch as much as $250 per 18 in piece at auction.
Barbed wire would appear to have been introduced into Britain prior to 1878, when it was the subject of a lawsuit for the first time.
The first Barbed wire for defence used by US forces in Cuba during the Spanish-American War of 1898.