Electric Fences


Rosedale GardenThe first electric fences were invented in 1936-1937 by New Zealand inventor Bill Gallagher. Apparently, he was irritated at his horse using his car as a scratching post. I remember seeing some of the porcelain insulators that Dad used on our dairy. The insulator had a hole in the middle for nailing it to a post. One miss whack and the insulators were history.

In 1962, another New Zealand inventor, Doug Phillips, invented the non-shortable electric fence which could be used up to 20 miles. When these improved electric fences that used a plastic insulator first came out, several farmers in our area embraced them.

My Dad and one of his friend's J.B. Enlow were great fans of the new and improved version. Dad also used pieces of wire to repair or hold equipment together instead of duct tape.

One day Mr. Enlow was visiting our farm. He had his rubber boots on and was leaned up against a post by the bull lot. He and my Dad were busy spinning their usual yarns as they normally did when they got together. The kids surrounded them taking it all in.

One of the dogs decided to check out the smells on Mr. Enlow's britches leg. ZAP! Mr. Enlow jumped and ran one way thinking the dog had gotten hold of his leg, and the dog took off the other way thinking Mr. Enlow had gotten hold of him. The rest of us jumped out of our skins. The electric fence was running along the top of the posts to keep the bulls from jumping out, and J.B. had his hand on the wire. He wasn't grounded until the dog decided to take a sniff.

Mr. Enlow owned property on Frankfort Road next to the property Dad was renting from Johnny Gattman. He used the electric fence around his pastures to control areas grazed by his cows. Part of each property extended up in the mountains. This was during the time the county was dry, and the mountain area wasn't good for cattle grazing. It was full of cactus, rattlesnakes and moonshiners. The moonshiners were the reason one stayed off of the mountain; they didn't take kindly to anyone wandering near their still.

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