If curiosity killed the cat then biomimicry killed the cowboy.
As you sit there reading yet another article professing that robots are coming for your job spare a thought for the cowboys of the great American plains.
Synonymous with this often romanticised region of the United States and a certain cigarette brand, they were introduced in an effort to control the herds before pasture boundaries were developed.
In the early days, many ranchers planted hawthorn bushes to mark their boundaries and keep the cattle from straying.
But they took a long time to grow.
Then, one bright rancher named Joseph Glidden took inspiration from the bushes to create a better solution.
Born in 1813, Mr. Glidden started his working life as a school teacher in New York but jacked it in and moved West to Illinois and bought a ranch.
A more effective way to keep cattle under control
At the ripe old age of 61, inspired by a prototype he saw at a country fair he started experimenting with tying sharpened metal knots along threads of steel wire and, after a time, created ‘barbed wire.’
It’s low cost and hearty resilience led to its rapid adoption and this new product transformed the American West.
Not everyone, however, welcomed this innovative thinking with open arms.
The cowboys quickly found themselves out of work and very lonesome and blamed their misfortune on this wire which they came to call “devil’s rope.”
Today, it remains one of the successful examples of biomimicry.
Register your interest now on the website for our Biomimicry course launching in early 2018.