On this day in history, Nov. 24, 1874, the first commercially


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Barbed wire is a commonly used product in agriculture, transportation and other industries. 

The unique design and structure make this wire creation sturdy — and sometimes harmful to the touch. 

And on this day in history, Nov. 24, 1874, the first commercially successful barbed wire was patented by Joseph Farwell Glidden. 

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Glidden was an American farmer originally from Charlestown, New Hampshire. 

After growing up in Clarendon, New York, and finishing school, he returned to his father’s farm to work, according to Britannica. 

A portrait of inventor Joseph Farwell Glidden is shown here — at the center of an advertisement for Glidden Steel Barb Fence Wire. 
(Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Years later, he landed in De Kalb, Illinois, and obtained a farm of his own. 

After seeing a sample of barbed wire at the De Kalb Count Fair in 1873, Glidden decided to make some improvements of his own on the product — and ultimately applied for a U.S. patent. 

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But he was not alone.

Two other men also applied for a barbed wire patent with changes of their own: lumberman Jacob Haish and merchant Isaac Leonard Ellwood, according to Encyclopedia online.

Glidden, however, was the man who was awarded the patent. 

Patent drawing for Joseph F. Glidden's Improvement to barbed wire, 1874.

Patent drawing for Joseph F. Glidden’s Improvement to barbed wire, 1874.
(HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The original patent on barbed wire was filed in the United States in 1867, but Glidden obtained the patent on the new and improved form in 1874, according to Britannica.

Barbed wire normally consists of two long wires that are twisted together to form a cable. 

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The wire comes in many varieties,…


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