Cork the Barbs

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, November 23, 1912:  Was pretty busy today. That’s usually the way on Saturdays.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since not much happened  a hundred y ears ago today, I’m going to go back to a post from two weeks ago—

Sometimes I post an entry—and then find additional information and think—I could have written a better post if I’d known that.

Well, that’s what happened after I posted the November 10, 1912 diary entry. Grandma had written:

. . . This afternoon I went over to see Margaret. Such a time as I had getting there a crawling under fences and so on.

I thought it seemed really odd that she crawled under fences rather than walking on  the road. But it apparently it was common a hundred years ago to take short-cuts through under fences and through fields. I recently was browsing through the December 1912 issue of Good Housekeeping, and it contained this tip to make it easier to traverse fields with barbed wire fences.

Cork the Barbs

In taking cross-country walks, provide yourself with a couple of dozen, medium-sized corks. When coming to the inevitable barbed-wire fence, protect each barb with a cork until you are safely under the fence. The corks may be returned to your pocket and used a good many times. The cork-safety device may be used to good effect on the barbed-wire fence between country neighbors. We have found it a most grateful saving of torn garments.

Whew, it sure is easier today to just hop in the car when we want to visit friends.. .

10 thoughts on “Cork the Barbs

  1. Hi. What a great idea. We have barbed wire all around our summer property since it was used as a paddock for buffalo. The photo shows how quaint the wire looks, but going underneath isn’t always fun. Jane

  2. Well, I guess it was just a way to save a few minutes and no scandal was happening. I do remember my dad talking about walking thru a neighbours on the way to school. More fun than going down a road I would think. Interesting tip. I would never have guessed that corks would have been that available.

  3. I really could have used this information when I was a child growing up in the country; I have a really bad scar on my leg from a barb wire fence. Your blog is such a treasure for those of us who love history and the old fashioned ways. ~ Marsha

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