Friday, May 22, 2009


Barbarian, Bill W.K. Mollett collected 8,000 pieces of barbed wire in his lifetime. Bill always had a story to tell and loved the West. He recognized that barbed wire signified the end of the "Old" West, its open range, itinerant wranglers. These remnants are a reminder of the cowpunchers who fenced their land. Much barbed wire was home made and each rancher's fence was identifiable like their brand. Old timers say, "bob wire" and there is a "bobbed" wire bible identifying different types of wire and the men who patented them.
Bill's daughter Chrys and I walked her garden and talked "bob wire" for an hour or two and in the photos you will see wire that looks like rick-rack, crochet, strands of yard, twisted hooks and barbs of every imaginable angle. And the names, can you identify the piece called Brinkerhof Belt Buckle Splicer? It was patented by J. Brinkerhoff, May 17, 1881? Below it is Glidden Hog Wire, Extra Long Barbs, patented by J.F. Glidden, Nov. 24, 1874. Yes, that is Glidden, the man who went on to open paint stores that still carry his name today. On one board, Chrys points to a space that mounts a stone.
In collecting, you had to have a piece 18 inches long for it to qualify for showing. Bill mounted the strands on boards and recorded the type and patent, if one existed, on the back of the board.
Chrys and I enjoyed reminiscing about her dad who wore a wide brimmed hat with a band of barbed wire for a hat band. He was known as the Barbarian of Calaveras County.

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