Monday, June 20, 2022

Article: Haish kindred fight to break $800,000 will

Orrin Merritt of the Kishwaukee Valley Heritage Society reached out with this note and image:

"I was accessing a book into our collection today and ran across an interesting news article, stuck between the pages, about Jacob Haish's will."

Click image to enlarge

To read more about Haish's will, click HERE

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

"Rattler" wire fence stretcher

"The Rattler" wire fence stretcher | Photo by Jessi LaRue
This wire fence stretcher, called "The Rattler" was patented by Jacob Haish in 1882 and was produced by his manufacturing company. 

Wire stretchers were essential for installing barbed wire, as they ensured that the wire had the proper amount of tension. 

Click here for information on the patent for Haish's wire stretcher, which he would market as "The Rattler."

Monday, March 21, 2022

Lecture Series Presents “Exploring Jacob Haish”

DeKALB – In 1875, Jacob Haish secured a patent for his “S Barb” wire design, claiming his spot as one of DeKalb’s “Barbed Wire Barons,” and a role in the development of the west.

While mostly known for his contribution to the barbed wire industry, Haish also patented and manufactured farming implements and was a banker. He left most of his fortune to the city of DeKalb, resulting in the public library and much more.

On Thursday, April 7, Jessi Haish LaRue, a Haish family descendant, will present and discuss “new” artifacts and research related to this lesser-known barbed wire entrepreneur. LaRue has been researching in the Joiner History Room since fall 2021 in an effort to make Haish-related items more accessible to the public and creating conversation regarding Haish’s impact.

The lecture, titled “Adventures in Research: Exploring Jacob Haish,” is part of Brown Bag Lunch/Local Lore, a collaboration between the Ellwood House Museum and DeKalb County History Center. 

The free one-hour program will take place at noon at the DeKalb County History Center, 1730 N. Main Street in Sycamore. A virtual option is also available. To register, visit

Brown Bag Lunch/Local Lore is funded in part by the Mary E. Stevens Concert and Lecture Fund.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Haish Wire & Implement Co. letterhead

Haish Co. letterhead detail | Courtesy of DeKalb County History Center Archives

This letterhead for Haish Wire and Implement Co. advertises the company's woven and barbed wire, gates, staples, nails and stretchers. Haish's iconic rooster image is used as well.

Letter on Haish Co. letterhead | Courtesy of DeKalb County History Center Archives

The letter on this letterhead is addressed to Mr. E.E. Roberts of Oak Park, Ill., and reads:

"Dear Sir:-

This is to give notice to you, also the contractors, Foster Woodruff & Glidden that unless the school house now being erected in DeKalb, Ill., under your supervision, are completed by Aug. 1st, 1908 for every day's delay thereafter we shall demand damages.

Yours truly,


The letter is dated July 15, 1908.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Haish's "S" barb fence wire advertisement postcard

front of the postcard

The front side of the postcard reads: 

Forbidden Fruit. Can't get through Haish's fence.

"Papa uses the Haish Barb Fence. No danger for players here. Just look on the other side."

"I use the 'S' barb. No more dog fence for me. I have trained my dog for sporting."

back of the postcard

The reverse side of the postcard reads: 

"Jacob Haish, manufacturer of Haish's 'S' barb fence wire, patented August 31, 1875. DeKalb, Ill.

Barb Fast on Both Wires.

To the farmer and stock-raiser, a complete fence is a constant benefit; hence the pleasure afforded the inventor in offering to the entire country the enamel 'S' barb fence, which meets all the requirements of a stock fence. This assertion is made at the instance of many of the best farmers throughout the West, who witness to its perfect efficiency as a stock-proof fence, from the following facts: Two wires make a good stock-proof fence costing about 40 cents per rod. It requires less posts, less labor, and is built for less money than any other good wire fence. Stock never make a second attempt to get through it. (Use Haish's Wire Tightener, because it stretches the wire each way, and remains on the fence and can be turned with a wrench or crank.) It can be tightened with any wire strainer. The strain is equal upon both wires, lessening the liability of breaking. It is slightly twisted, so as not to weaken the wire. The enameling renders it absolutely rust-proof. THE BARBS PASS AROUND BOTH WIRES AND CANNOT TURN. The spread of the wires between the barbs preserves its tension. It is made of the best No. 12 steel wire. Breaking Strain is 100 per cent, over common annealed wire. It weighs 17 ounces to the rod, coiled on spools, weighing from 70 to 100 pounds, ready for shipment to any part of the globe. This fence gives the best satisfaction of any Barb Fence ever used.

The last consideration is the solid comfort the stock-raiser enjoys when relieved from the anxiety of watching crops, by using the 'S' barb fence. He rests peacefully at night and the heart throbs with an even beat as he quietly turns over."

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Haish Mfg. Co advertisement

Haish Mfg. Co. advertisement as seen in The DeKalb Chronicle Souvenir Edition, 1900 | Courtesy of DeKalb County Archives

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Haish's story featured in American West encyclopedia

The American West: A Multicultural Encyclopedia" features a section on Jacob Haish's history. In fact, he is the last entry in his particular volume, so he is even listed on the spine and on the index for all of the other titles in the series.

There are some factual errors in the description, such as his birth and death years, which I've corrected below. Even so, it's nice to see Haish considered a piece of stand-alone history.

"Haish, Jacob


Jacob Haish was an inventor and manufacturer, best known for devising and patenting the 'S' barbed wire.

Haish (b. Baden, Germany, on March 9, 1827) and his family immigrated to the United States when he was [nine] years old, ultimately settling in De Kalb County, Illinois. As a young man, after building a successful business as a contractor and lumber dealer in De Kalb, Haish began to experiment with barbed wire. However, when he tried to patent the result in 1873, he discovered that his townsman Joseph [F.] Glidden had applied for a similar patent only two months earlier. Although his challenge to Glidden's patent was unsuccessful, Haish persisted with his experiments until he developed the 'S' barbed wire, which he patented on August 31, 1875.

Haish's 'S' became the best-selling barbed wire in the West. Over the years, Haish continued to manufacture barbed wire and other products, including plain wire, nails, staples, and woven-wire fencing. He died on February 19, 1926, a few weeks before his 100th birthday."