Sunday, May 26, 2024

UPCOMING PROGRAM: "Built by Barbed Wire"

Photo by Jessi Haish LaRue

As the 150th anniversary of Joseph F. Glidden’s “The Winner” barbed wire patent approaches, there are opportunities to learn more about the prosperity and innovation that barbed wire brought to DeKalb, earning it the nickname “Barb City.”

At 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, 2024, the Glidden Homestead and DeKalb Public Library will host a “Built by Barbed Wire” program at the library, 309 Oak Street. This program, which is free and open to the public, will share the history of the building that was donated by barbed wire baron Jacob Haish. 
On February 15, 1931, the Haish Memorial Library Building at 309 Oak Street was dedicated. Built on land provided by the city and financed by a bequest of $150,000 from barbed-wire millionaire Jacob Haish, the striking building with its Indiana Bedford limestone facade soon gained national recognition through an article in Architecture magazine. In 1934 the library received a mural by Gustaf Dahlstrom from the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project. 
Jessi Haish LaRue, Glidden Homestead executive director, will provide remarks on the barbed wire story in DeKalb and Jacob Haish’s gift to the community. Then, Emily Faulkner, DeKalb Public Library executive director, will provide a tour and “behind the scenes” view of both the original portion and the “new” portion of the library. Highlights include various historic plaques, nods to the original architecture, and new additions, including the automated book sorter.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Glidden’s “The Winner” patent, the most widely-used barbed wire in the world, which also earned Glidden the title “The Father of Barbed Wire.” In September 2024 the Homestead will celebrate by hosting a barbed wire exposition show in coordination with the Antique Barbed Wire Society, and other community-wide events. 
For more information contact Jessi Haish LaRue, Glidden Homestead & Historical Center, at or 815-756-7904.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Chanticleer advertising postcard

Double-sided Chanticleer Gasoline Engines (Manufactured by Jacob Haish Company, DeKalb, Illinois) postcard. This is marked as number 3 in a series of three cards. Click on photos to enlarge.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Seal for Haish Memorial Hospital

From the DeKalb County History Center archives: "The [corporate seal embosser] used for official business for the Jacob Haish Memorial Hospital in DeKalb." The label reads "Jacob Haish Memorial Hospital."

Monday, February 19, 2024

Barbed-Wire Fence Inventor Succumbs

Jacob Haish died at 99 years old on February 19, 1926. On February 26, the Los Angeles Daily Times published "Barbed-Wire Fence Inventor Succumbs"

From the article:

"Within a few days of his one-hundredth birthday, Jacob Haish, millionaire inventor of barbed wire and said to be the oldest bank president in the country, died at his home at DeKalb, Ill., recently of pneumonia. He would have been 100 years old March 9.

Mr. Haish conceived the idea of barbed wire while building fences for his farm. He at first wove osage into wire so that the hardened thorns on the plant would keep the cattle from breaking through. From this developed the idea of sharp protruding spikes of wire and in 1873 he had produced a finished product.

Mr. Haish also developed many farm devices, including milk separators, manure spreaders, gas engines, disc plows and the like. He was born in Cilsul, Baden, Germany, in 1826, and came to America with his parents when he was 9 years of age."

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Jacob Haish

Photo of Jacob Haish | Courtesy of DeKalb County History Center archives
This undated photo shows an aging Jacob Haish. 

The best description I've found of Haish's character comes from a Feb. 1900 edition of the "Northern Illinois," today known as the Northern Star, Northern Illinois University's independent campus newspaper: 

"Mr. Haish's career seems phenomenal. It was due to labor, energy and perseverance. He made the most of his opportunities, was not extravagant, and is now reaping the rich reward of his labors. His manner is quiet and straightforward. He always says exactly what he means, without useless compliment; is not slow to condemn injustice nor to reward faithfulness. His greatest enjoyment is at his own fireside, where, with his wife and friends, he is found to be a delightful companion. He is retired and conservative before the public, and commands the respect and admiration of all who know him."