Barbed wire telephone lines

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Barbed wire telephone lines were local networks created in rural America at the end of the 19th century and beginning of 20th century.[1] In some isolated farmers' communities, it was not cost-effective for corporations to invest in the telephone infrastructure. Instead, the existing extent of barbed wire fences could be used to transmit electric signals and connect phones in neighboring farms.

In 1902, The New York Times reported[2] that ranchers in Montana were inaugurating a telephone exchange in Fort Benton, with the goal of eventually connecting every city in the state. The main purpose of such networks was to transmit information about weather conditions and train schedules.


  1. ^ Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood. Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0-375-42372-7. 
  2. ^ "Montana Ranchmen Making a General Use of the Fences". The New York Times. June 1, 1902.