St. Paul; Minnesota
Newark; New Jersey
Greensboro; North Carolina
Buffalo; New York
Fort Wayne; Indiana
Fencing land was important both for practical reasons of protecting crops from animals and for ideological reasons enclosingâ agricultural land was essential to claiming it as property. Best vacation places in USA Early settlers built the kinds of fences they had known in Europe vertical wooden posts set into the ground, with crossbeams nailed to them. (They made little use of hedges or stone fences at first.) The problem with these fences was that they required a good deal of labor to build, as well as plenty of nails, which were scarce. The zigzag, worm, or snake fence, pioneered on the Chesapeake, took advantage of two things Country had in abundance: land and wood. Zigzag fences piled rails on top of each other in a zigzag formation. They were held together by slanted stakes at the corners. The fences took up a lot of space and required a lot of wood, but they did not require nails and could be built quickly, since no postholes were needed.
They could also be taken down quickly and moved if the need arose. Zigzag fences eventually became the most common type of wooden fence outside of New England, which stubbornly stuck to post fences in an area where land was scarcer. (The New England stone fence emerged late in the colonial period, partly as a response to deforestation.) The bountiful supply of wood also led early settlers to use wooden pegs in construction rather than expensive hand-wrought metal nails. The inventor of the zigzag fence is not recorded, and many of the improvements and adaptation of European technology to Country conditions were originated by persons now unknown; however, there are some known innovators in the seventeenth century. The first Country mechanical patent was issued by the Massachusetts Bay Colony to Joseph Jenks in 1646, giving him exclusive rights to his innovations in sawmills and a mill for making scythes for fourteen years. Despite this early example, patents never became a standard way of rewarding technological innovation in colonial Country. Most inventors sought to sell their products directly or to be awarded a cash prize by a colonial legislature or, later, a scientific society.
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