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Los Angeles, California
March 25, 2007
One of the attractions along "must see" attractions along Route 66 is the Devil's Rope Museum. The concept to me is a little strange, but it was free so I thought that there was nothing to loose. For those who don't know devil's rope refers to barbed wire. While walking though the museum I kept thinking I would love to know who said, "Hey, I know what the world is missing; a museum that is dedicated to barb wire." To give you an idea of how dedicated these people are they have some how filled 12,000 sq feet with barbed wire and fencing tools making it the worlds largest collection. Now who maintains this? Well, collectors from the US, Canada, and Australia. I learned something new. People collect barbwire, who knew?
The best part (the reason that I went) was the section dedicated to Route 66. The museum is home to the Texas Route 66 Association and are willing to answer any questions that may come up on your journey down the highway.They have old signs that were once seen along the highway, but have since been discarded. There are also advertising souvenirs, a huge snake (yes a huge snake, I can’t make this stuff up people) form the Regal Reptile Ranch, and the Texas Route 66 Hall of Fame., which were one famous sites along the Mother Road. One of my favorite exhibits was a replica of a '50s style museum that might have been seen on a past journey. New features are added all the time as Route 66 memorabilia is found and acquired.
The museum is open Tuesday though Saturday between 10am to 4pm. To learn more about barb wire aka Devil’s Rope visit there website at:www.barbwiremuseum.com.
From journal From Sea to Shining Sea
October 4, 2004
I have to admit that when I drove up to the museum and saw the word "tribute," I kind of laughed. Tribute? Barbed wire? I was beginning to think this was one of those kooky places found in the book Roadside America, like the largest ball of twine. But since first seeing barbed wire at the Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City, I had become very intrigued with it, so I had to see what this place was all about. I still can’t believe, however, that I’m so excited telling everyone about how cool barbed wire is!
I discovered that, yes, there was a lot of barbed wire, but there was so much more in this building. They had a nice overview on ranching in Texas, including a lit display showing the different ranches and respective owners in the area. Also in that history is a large display of branding irons from different ranches. Those were neat to look at and I wondered how people actually came up with the different symbols (which are the symbols of their ranch).
There is a large section on fences. You see a large assortment of fencing tools. You see 180 different post-hole digger models. They have an 1893 Rancher’s fence-repair wagon on display. There are numerous patented fence posts, lime stone rock posts, and quarry tools. They even have a case of salesman samples that were brought around on sales calls.
Now on to the good stuff. You see hundreds of different types of barbed wire here. I never knew there could be so many, but there are wire barbs, sheet metal barbs, ribbon wire, and more. Each has its own unique design.
Barbs are projecting points integrated on wire fencing. Usually you see a single strand of twisted wire with two points. Barbed wire was created to protect crops from wandering livestock and to mark off property boundaries. The first patent came in 1867, and since then there have been about 450 patents, although about 2,000 varieties have been found; many of these, called bootleg wires, had slight variations and were made in small blacksmith shops.
Just like the branding irons, it’s hard to imagine how people could come up with so many designs - many different twists, a number of points, and different shapes. I particularly like the stamped sheet metal wheel barbs. They look like a rotating blade on an electric saw and would spin if the cattle came across it.
If you have any interest in knowing more about the ranching business, or just want to see some different works of "art," I recommend a stop at the Devil’s Rope Museum.
From journal Tribute to barbed wire in McLean, Texas