Barbed Wire Telephones

AMERICAN PATENT CLERKS IN THE 1870s could scarcely have imagined how two inventions, filed two years apart, would together change the lonely lives of frontier Americans. In 1874, there was barbed wire, and in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell’s revolutionary telephone. Together, in an amazing display of rural ingenuity, they connected isolated homesteads to their rural neighbors and the rest of the world.

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9 Responses to Barbed Wire Telephones

  1. Matt in IL says:

    Went to law school in DeKalb, IL. Home of barbed wire. It’s incredible how ingrained into the culture it is there, having been where it was invented. Loved every minute of it.

  2. WiscoDave says:

    You can start collecting phone lines now!

  3. WiscoDave says:

    You can also use fencing with field phones. As long as the fencer is off…

  4. Elmo says:

    Ma to Pa- “Dear, the phone’s not working.”

    Pa to Ma- “Dammit! That bull musta got out again.”

  5. Terry says:

    No mention of Alexander Graham Kowalski, the first telephone pole?

  6. The Rat Fink says:

    Just saw a barbed wire set up in Amish country today!

  7. thomas says:

    Hmm, i wonder. Barb wire was nailed right up to the old house here, and stretched through the woods and over the hill. Always seemed like crappy land for livestock an farming

  8. Dan Gwaltney says:

    When I started in the phone industry in 1970, there were old-timers around who said they spent half of their time riding the roads and closing gates back in the day. :)

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