DeKALB – A new sign designed and crafted by blacksmiths at the Joseph F. Glidden Homestead & Historical Center was unveiled at the museum May 18.
The ornate hand-forged iron sign frame was designed by Lucio Bortolin, a working blacksmith and member of the Glidden Homestead’s board of directors. For more than a year, Bortolin donated time and space in the workshop of his business, F2 Industries in Sycamore, where blacksmiths created the frame. 3D Designs of Sycamore produced the sign insert at or near wholesale as another sponsor.
A reception followed the unveiling. In attendance were DeKalb Mayor John Rey, city council members Dave Baker and Robert Snow, and Anita Zurbrugg representing the DeKalb County Community Foundation. A grant from the foundation helped make the new sign possible.
“This event has historical significance for our community. The sign will not only improve the homestead’s visibility, drawing more people to our museum, but also will help us preserve this site for future generations as Joseph Glidden’s legacy,” Zurbrugg said.
“The frame for the sign was masterfully crafted by local blacksmiths who showcased skills that carry the great traditions of the craft dating back to Joseph Glidden’s time. It was Glidden’s good friend the blacksmith Phineas Vaughan who helped him construct machinery to produce the barbed wire. Today, our local blacksmiths carry on that tradition and spent many long hours creating this beautiful sign. Their work displays tangible proof that this skill still exists,” board president Svetlana Henrikson said.
The new sign is in the front yard at the Glidden Homestead at 921 W. Lincoln Highway, between Copy Service and Burger King.
The Homestead is the site where Joseph Glidden invented and manufactured “The Winner” barbed wire, for which he received a patent on Nov. 24, 1874. The house and barn are listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.