Sunday, May 26, 2019

Haish, Ellwood, Glidden barbed wire plaque

Barbed wire samples belonging to Kevin Haish
This barbed wire sample plaque has been owned by my dad, Kevin Haish, for almost forty years.

He purchased this plaque from the local Ace Hardware store in 1980 for a school project. The front features wire samples from Joseph Glidden, Jacob Haish and Isaac Ellwood, DeKalb's barbed wire barons. 

The back features text from Howard A. Nelson, who created the plaque:

"Each wire on the plaque is identified by the last name of the inventor and the year he received a patent for that wire. With over 600 patents granted for wire this display is obviously a small representation. It is impossible to tell when any barbed wire was manufactured because it depends on the quality, size and kind of metal used, the treatment given the wire such as paint or galvanizing and lastly where it was used. In areas with high rainfall and humidity, the life of a piece of metal exposed to the weather is relatively short, while in areas with low rainfall and dry atmosphere the life is considerably longer."
The backside of the display

Saturday, May 25, 2019

"The Rattler" wire fence stretcher

Jacob Haish's wire stretcher on display at the Devil's Rope Museum in Texas. | 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. 

Below is paperwork from the patent for Haish's wire stretcher, which he would market as "The Rattler."
From Google patent. Click to enlarge
Click here to see an advertisement for this wire stretcher, as posted on Jeff Marshall's website.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Haish family takes barbed wire journey

Last week, my father and I traveled to check out some barbed wire sites, and learn more about Jacob Haish, our distant barbed wire baron relative. Two Haishes, one fantastic road trip. 

We first ventured to La Crosse, KS, which bills itself as the "Barbed Wire Capital of the World." It seemed like a fitting title; my first drive through Kansas gave me the opportunity to see miles and miles of barbed wire stretching across the state. It was quite a sight for this Illinois girl.

The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum features displays of wire and fencing tools. It's also home to a research center and houses collections from the Antique Barbed Wire Society.
Jessi Haish LaRue at the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum
From there we traveled to McLean, TX, the home of the Devil's Rope Museum, which is billed as the largest collection of barbed wire and fencing tools in the world.

A member of the museum once invited me to visit the museum during their annual reunion and swap meet. That invite inspired this entire trip. During the show I met many interesting, important people from the barbed wire collecting world. This included people who have authored their own barbed wire identification books!
Kevin Haish at the Devil's Rope Museum in McLean, TX
McLean's museum features thousands of pieces of barbed wire memorabilia, and is also home to a Route 66 museum. I was incredibly moved by the friendliness and generosity of everyone I met during the McLean tour; the museum board presented us with this commemorative piece of art (seen below,) which was created by Delbert Trew, curator of the museum.
"Salute to Haish," created by Delbert Trew, of Texas
He explained the "Salute to Haish" piece as a way to recognize our trip to the museum, as well as all members of Jacob Haish's extended family. The wood base is from an antique wagon wheel from Trew's ranch, which represents the time period in which Haish was creating his wire. The bull represents the cattle that was fenced in with the wire, allowing the United States to expand across the West.

Thank you to both museums for their assistance with my research, and a HUGE thank you to everyone associated with the Devil's Rope Museum for their incredible hospitality and generosity. I can't wait to visit again someday.

- - - 

More posts on our finds within both museums will be coming up soon. I'm officially "hooked" on barbed wire.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

"Honoring DeKalb's Inventors" envelope

This commemorative envelope, distributed by the Land of Lincoln Barbed Wire Collectors Association in 1974, honors "DeKalb's inventors."

Isaac Ellwood, Jacob Haish and Joseph Glidden are portrayed on the envelope to advertise the Barbed Wire Centennial. Although the Land of Lincoln group was later disbanded, many of these commemorative envelopes (in various designs) are still floating around today. I recently posted about a Haish design here.

Thanks to Rob Glover, Glidden Homestead executive director, for sharing this with me.

Detail of the envelope. Ellwood, Haish and Glidden are pictured.

Haish mansion model restoration complete

NIU student Cameron Simpson has been hard at work to restore the model of the Jacob Haish mansion, and now, her work is complete!

After more than 85 hours of work on the model, Simpson shared the news on her blog that she's used to document the project. 

While she made many tweaks to improve the structure of the model, most notably she repaired the chimney, replaced missing window glass, and reattached the gazebo.

Visit Simpson's blog by clicking here, or click here to read my interview with her.

Before and after of the Haish mansion model (FRONT) | Photos by Cameron Simpson 
Before and after of the Haish mansion model (SIDE, featuring gazebo) | Photos by Cameron Simpson