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Washburn and Moen Manufacturing Company.   A major wire manufacturer from Worcester that sold its goods all over the country. It has 3 large complexes in Worcester, the largest of which was called Northworks. The building still exists on Grove Street. The company was founded in 1851 when Ichabod Washburn, who had been producing wire since 1831, took on a new partner, his son-in-law, Philip Moen. They produced piano wire, crinoline wire for hoop skirts, electrical wire and cable copper wire for telephones and most notably, barbed wire. By the end of century, wire was Worcester's largest industry.

Among its salesman was John Warne Gates, who was sent west to sell barbed wire. He struggled at first as ranchers doubted wire's ability to contain cattle. However, after a few flamboyant demonstrations, orders came rolling in. When Washburn refused to make Gates a partner, he started his own wire company. He became known as John "Bet-U-A-Million" Gates for his gambling habits and is considered the person most responsible for the explosion of barbed wire usage on western ranches....a development which lead to much conflict between range owners and free rangers.

Washburn and Moen was absorbed into American Steel and Wire in 1899, which in turn became part of US Steel in 1901.


Stock. Issued in 1884. #848.

Score Card
Rarity Industry Beauty Cross-Collectable Importance Age
7 6 6 5 6 5
Overall Value 6
 *Rankings are 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest) (key)

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