As a farmer in Illinois, Joseph Glidden realized the need for a wire which would keep livestock separated and in designed areas. Open range ranching had been the practice in Texas until the 1870’s when Glidden’s invention of barbed wire became widely used. After legal disputes about who actually invented barbed wire, Glidden received the patent for in 1874, and created the Barb Fence Company in DeKalb, Illinois. His invention made him one of the richest men in America. Barbed wire was one of the most important inventions to shape and influence the West.