Red Brand fencing: Born in the USA

LIBERTY, North America > 12th September, 2019

At a glance

  • LIBERTY Steel’s acquisition of US-based steel company Keystone Consolidated Industries brings the Red Brand fencing brand – one of the USA’s most recognised name in agricultural fencing – into the GFG Alliance family.
  • Red Brand’s history traced back to 1889 and the work of Peter Sommer.
  • Red Brand’s red top wire is its distinctive trademark.

LIBERTY Steel’s acquisition of US-based steel company Keystone Consolidated Industries brings the Red Brand fencing brand into the GFG Alliance family. Forged out of hardship and adversity, Red Brand has grown to become the USA’s most recognised name in agricultural fencing.

For one of the United States’ most iconic brands, Red Brand fencing has surprisingly humble beginnings. Some 130 years ago, Peter Sommer, a hard-working Illinois rancher, grew tired of constantly having to fell and cut up trees to build wooden fences for his property. It seemed no sooner was a fence finished than the harsh winter and scorching summer conditions began to break it down again, creating more work.

Peter wondered if there was a better way of doing things and began experimenting. After months of trial and error, in 1889 he invented an ingenious machine capable of weaving wire into a pattern. Peter and his sons soon found they were able to use the machine to crank out 60 metres (200 feet) of safe, durable and highly weather-proof fencing in a single day. Red Brand fencing was born.

Wide variety of applications
Today, Red Brand is the number one line of agricultural fencing product in the United States, with a study by market research firm Farnsworth finding it is also the USA’s most recognised brand in its category. It’s used in a diverse range of applications, meaning you’re equally as likely to see Red Brand products protecting the world’s most valuable thoroughbreds, including two US Triple Crown horses living at farms in Kentucky, as you are to see them providing a safety shield at automotive-race tracks throughout the US.

Early this year, Red Brand proudly joined the GFG Alliance family when LIBERTY Steel acquired the brand’s parent company, US steel and wire company Keystone Consolidated Industries.

Customers in the United States know Red Brand as an innovative brand, and the spirit of innovation that inspired Peter Sommer has been present throughout its history. Since its development in Peter’s humble shed in Dillon, Illinois, Red Brand has also had a defining rule of always putting safety first.

Distinctive red wire
In 1925, a clever employee gave Red Brand one of its most distinctive characteristics – the now trademarked red top wire – when he dipped the tops of the Keystone wire into red paint. The product is now highly visible on farms across America.

Ongoing success – thanks largely to word of mouth among satisfied farmers and ranchers – led to careful growth, and in 1988, Keystone Consolidated Industries launched a major expansion at the Bartonville, Illinois plant. The plant is today one of the largest wire mills in the world with more than 186,000 square metres of manufacturing space over more than 600 hectares. Last year, the employees produced more than 635,000 tonnes of steel.

Today, an employee at the LIBERTY Steel & Wire Peoria plant can produce 305 metres of Red Brand fencing per hour. Through a clever manufacturing process, barges overflowing with old refrigerators, abandoned cars and massive mounds of recycled steel are transformed into some of the best wire fencing in the world. Red Brand has long recognised the importance and value of protecting our environment.

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