The importance of any improvement in fences can be appreciated when we think of the vast amount of time and labor* required in building and repairing fences in our rural districts, which consume a great quantity of timber. It is said that in Pennsylvania alone there are fences to the value of a hundred million dollars, and keeping them in repair costs annually ten million dollars. In the West the expense of fences is proportionately greater, and many plans have been tried to avoid fencing. Within the last few years many portable fences have been patented, and the subject of our engraving is one of these, the object of which is to provide for more easily moving the fence, and to render the use of other fences unnecessary. This fence is put up in strong, light pens of circular or polygonal form, of any size desired, as seen in the perspective view of the fence fixed on the prairie. It is braced so that it can be raised off the ground and supported by three or more wheels, on which it may be moved altogether in any direction to the spot selected, and there, by simply ungearing the wheels, it will rest firmly in the spot where it is fixed. It can be constructed either of boards, wire, or strap iron. The engravings show a pen made half of iron and half of boards, and illustrate the construction of each, which is nearly the same, only it is found that the boards are too heavy when there are more than nine or twelve panels, but when made of wire or strap iron it may be much larger and more easily moved. If made of boards the posts are three cornered, and the boards are nailed on the inside of a post at one end, and on the outside of the next post, so that the boards reach k clear across the post, and the posts can be (quite small without any danger of splitting from the nails. Fig. 1 is a top view of the fence. Figs. 2 and 3 show a panel respectively of iron and wood. Figs. 4 and 5 show the method of attaching the wheels. Similar letters refer to similar parts in each. On the top of the top board (when made of wood) there is nailed a cap board, a, seen in cross section near Fig. 3, having a T-shape, and the bottom board is capped in the same way, these are for the purpose of givSng lateral strength to the panel. The middle of each panel is connected, at top and bottom, with the middle of the next panel by the braces, b b, passing under the cap pieces, a, and nailed to them. Each panel is also braced by a tie, ef, which keeps the fence f rom " s wagging " between the wheels, D. When constructed of iron the rails, a\ can be made of two boards, forming a T-shaped rail, or a square piece mortised into the posts, and connected together by the braces, b', which are held out from the posts by the blocks, e, that serve to make the connection more substantial than when the braces are straight. The brace, d, serve3 the same purpose as in Fig. 2. G is a small gate for taking stock in and out. It will be seen from the arrangement of these ties and braces that the panels are perfectly rigid and firm, and cannot drop between the wheels. The wheels, D, are attached to crooked levers, E, which pass through an eye, c, secured in a round hole at the bottom of the post, so that the lever, E, may be used to raise up the fence; and when the end of E is turned up parallel with the fence, it can be hitched into another eye, c', at the top and held fast by it in a vertical position as seen at Fig. 4 ; so that when the lever is up, the fence rests on the wheels, and when the lever is down, the fence rests on the ground. The lever, E, is made crooked like a castor, so that it can turn round and allow the fence to be moved in any direction ; it can be made of corrugated iron Fig. 5, or wood, Fig. 4, as experience may dictate ; n is the end post of the panels, and STNRT show the portion of the fence made of woodj M to P the portion made of strap iron, and POS the portion made of wire. It will be seen that this fence does not damage or take up any land, and it can be shifted from pasturage to pasturage without moving the cattle, as the farmer may find it convenient. The method of confining cattle in a limited pasture has been found to improve the land and crops without any detriment to the cattle, and for such and other purposes any farmer will see the manifold advantages of this fence. It is the invention of Thomas Hoge, of Waynesburg, Pa., and was patented by him on Dec, 9th, 1856. We should consider this fence specially important in prairie land at the West. He will be happy to furnish any additional particulars. We are informed that the fresh juice of honeysuckle rubbed on the part stung by a bee, instantly removes the pain.
This article was originally published with the title "Improved Portable Fence" in Scientific American 13, 33, 264 (April 1858)