The History Of The Chain Link Fence

history of chain link fence

Whether you call it wire netting, chain-wire fence, or cyclone fence, chain link fencing has a long and rich history of emboldening the Industrial Age and setting forth a new way of creating a fence. Before the invention of chain link, farmers and gardeners used various materials to create a fence, whether this included wood, stone, or any other material available to enclose a garden, home, or grazing land.

Going back to the earliest time in the American colonies, when English Common Law was in place, the Virginia House Of Burgesses decreed, "every man shall enclose his ground with a sufficient fence," in 1631. However, fences have been around way before that. Some sources document that the fence began in 120000 B.C.E. Imagine how far fencing has come from that time!

How Did Chain Link Fence Get Its Start?

While the original creator of the mesh in a chain link fence is disputed and inconclusive, Charles Barnard hailing from Market Place, Norwich, is said to have designed the first patented wire-netting machine in the 1840s.

Even though Europe started the trend with mesh fencing, America fell into the chain link rat race when the American Chain Link Fence Company from Medford, Massachusetts, in the 1890s, started producing commercial chain link fences. It was advertised as a new way to claim property rights and ensure unwanted individuals would keep out of your home.

Elaborate advertising calling for "a friendly fence which does not offend your neighbors" and that "establishes boundaries with trim and permanent beauty" was the marketing the American Chain Link Fence Company focused on, hoping to encourage property owners to purchase the new fencing method. However, as with any new invention, improvements needed to be made to create today's chain link fence.

Chain Link Fencing Becomes Safer

While past chain link fencing may look similar to the chain link used today, many patents have improved the mesh and durability of the fence. In the United States, the idea for reinventing a more safe and robust chain link mesh came from a patent initially applied to the wire used in spring beds made by Guy Mafera in 1915. A new wire patent designed by the brother of Mafera, Frank J. Mafera, in 1934 allowed this fence to be used in more residential areas with an improved selvage that would not catch on clothing or skin.

After this, The Cyclone Fence Company in 1935 created a new way of making wire mesh fabric that cost less and improved machinery using an oscillating shuttle for weaving. This is just one of the many improvement patents chain link fencing has gone through.

Chain Link Fencing Today

Even today, many manufacturers are submitting patents for new features to add to chain link, such as improved selvage, universal retaining locks, and new chain link fence slats. Because of chain link fencing's weather resistance and economical cost, it remains one of the most popular fences in the United States for closing in livestock, pets, or keeping kids safe in your yard.

Therefore, when choosing the right fence for your property, chain link fence is a versatile and long-lasting choice with many years of history.

Contact Us