Puslapio vaizdai

stuck to the theory for many years that our great honey production was due to some peculiarity of the flora of this continent, but they finally learned that it was due to the hive with movable combs.


The beehive which Langstroth invented in 1852 has not been improved in

any essential detail from that day to this. It was practically perfect from the beginning; and here I believe it is unique among mechanical inventions. It is essentially unimprovable. A hive may be built with a brood chamber larger or smaller to suit conditions, but it has got to remain a Langstroth hive in principle in order to do the work.

The movable-comb, top-opening hive has revolutionized beekeeping in America and had an influence that is worldwide. It has won its way on its merits in country after country. In the mechanical world it is a signal demonstration of the survival of the fittest. A man may go from one end of America to the other, and even to the remotest countries to which our exports have penetrated, and he will find that the frames and various appurtenances of one hive are an exact fit for every other hive. The Langstroth frame measures 175 by 9 inches, outside measurement, and the manufacturers of hives all make their hives accordingly. A beekeeper in one of California's great apiaries may buy the small outfit of a New England beekeeper and know that every part and every appliance will match and mingle with his own. Not even the Ford car has equaled it in observing the mechanical principle of interchangeability, and of setting a standard that is national.

It has become the hive of England and of France and of the Frenchspeaking part of Switzerland; and it

has made steady progress among the apiaries of Italy and Germany. American hives have been adopted in Canada, Mexico, the West Indies, South America, South Africa, Australasia, Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and other countries. It has increased the output of the world's honey from hundredweights to tons.'

Besides having movable combs and being top-opening for convenience in handling, a hive must have oblong frames, of scientific proportions, and these frames should hang free with very little point of contact and come out without crushing bees. Langstroth incorporated all these features in his hive at once. He met complex requirements with an invention of masterly simplicity.

He was himself a man of simple and lovable nature, and had a certain common sense and benevolence of outlook which reminded those who knew him of Benjamin Franklin. He protected his invention with a patent, but was unable to guard and enforce his rights; and when the end came, one day in 1895, he died without a dollar. It is now generally recognized that he was the 'father of American beekeeping' and that no inventor anywhere was prior to him.

It has been said that, up to 1852, the world had never improved in any way upon the beekeeping of the ancient Greeks. As a matter of fact, the beekeeping of the Middle Ages was hardly as good as theirs. The Greeks had three hundred treatises upon the bee; and the fourth book of Vergil's Georgics is a poem on bee management. It is only when we think of the beekeeping of the ancients that we get a just estimate of the modern invention. As sugar cane was not brought to Europe from India until comparatively modern times, and the possibilities of the sugar beet were unknown, man's

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

principal source of sweets was the hive. There was every possible incentive to study bee nature and perfect it. The yield of this important crop could have been increased tenfold if someone had only known enough to make a plain wooden box of certain proportions containing frames of a certain fit. In the making of a hive there is nothing needed of modern manufacturing equip ment. It can all be done with woodworking tools as simple as those that Christ used in plying his worldly trade. That the hive was not invented in all these centuries is due to the fact that it is a most complex invention founded upon observations in natural history that were neither easy to make nor simple to cope with by mechanical means. In one regard it is a mere white box or two sitting in the farmer's dooryard. At the same time it is the most complicate of mechanisms, being most diverse and intricate in the conditions which it meets and fulfills.

One who knew nothing about it beyond its mere appearance might naturally inquire, 'How is it complicated? Where are its cams and cogwheels, its springs and plungers and quick-acting fingers of iron?' The answer is that its intricacy is not visible. It takes the form of figures and shrewd calculations. It copes with the hidden psychology of the bee as well as her mere bodily measurements. Its every proportion and spacing, seeming to be nothing, deals in some manner with the perplexing problem of the bee.


As Langstroth was one of the greatest of our nature students, judged by what he actually accomplished, and as he was a man of most pleasing and interesting personality, one might suppose that his name would be familiar to Americans generally, and especially to

lovers of nature. That his name is so little known is due, I imagine, to the difficulty of explaining a hive in a few words so that it may be appreciated by the average man. Without an understanding of the hive, one cannot properly value what Langstroth did. As it is, his name is so little known that there is no biographical sketch of him in any encyclopædia, English or American. But his fame is looking up, and will some day be better attended to. Let me make a beginning, by setting down here some of the principal facts of his life as known to, his. fellow beekeepers:

[ocr errors]

Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth was born on Christmas Day, in the year 1810, at Philadelphia. His parents were members of 'Mr. Barnes' church' in that city, this being the mother Presbyterian church in the United States. Family tradition tells us that when the boy became interested in the ants working in gravel walks, and experimented upon them with crumbs of bread, his parents deplored that their son should show an inclination to such frivolous pursuits when he might employ the time improving his mind.

In 1827 he entered Yale College and graduated in 1831. From 1834 to 1836 he served as tutor in mathematics at Yale while he completed his studies in preparation for the ministry. In May 1836, he became pastor of the Second Congregational Church at Andover, Massachusetts, and in August of the same year he was married to Miss A. M. Tucker of New Haven, Connecticut.

After two years in the ministry ill health compelled him to resign his pastorate. For a while in 1838 and 1839 he was principal of the Abbott Female Academy at Andover, and in the latter year he moved to Greenfield, Massachusetts, to become principal of the high school for young ladies. In Greenfield he remained nine years, serving five

years as principal of the school for young ladies and four years as pastor of the Second Congregational Church. In 1848 he moved back to the city of his birth, where he again became principal of a school for young ladies; and after four years in this position he returned to Greenfield.

[ocr errors]

It was now fourteen years since he first became interested in bees. In 1887, the year after he left Yale, a friend whom he was visiting took him up in the attic and showed him where bees were being kept. His interest in the study of nature; early manifested by his curiosity regarding ants, now became wholly centred upon bees, and before long he was the owner of two colonies in old-fashioned box hives. His knowledge of bees at this time was confined to his Latin readings in Vergil, and to a modern writer who was 'somewhat skeptical regarding the existence of a queen bee.' Thereafter he continued to keep bees, finding pleasure in the study of their habits and benefit to his health through the outdoor exercise they afforded him.

Eventually the thought occurred to him that it might be possible to make a hive so that the interior would be subject to inspection, and after trying all the inventions which had that end in view, including the leaf hive of Huber, he conceived the movable-frame hive and set to work to solve its problems. At the same time he decided to reconsider the problems of beekeeping generally and to design a hive best fitted 'to remedy the many difficulties with which bee-culture is beset, by adapting my invention to the actual habits and wants of the insect.' In October 1851, he completed the movable-comb, opentop hive. And he records in his journal, on October 30 of that year, "The use of these frames will, I am persuaded, give a new impetus to the easy and profitable management of bees.' In 1852 he

procured the patent which was never to be of any benefit to him, but rather a subject that brought harassment and worry. His health was never reliable, and from his twentieth year he suffered occasional attacks of a distressing 'head trouble' which would give him an aversion to his studies and keep him away from his work for months at a time.

In 1858 he moved to Oxford, Ohio, where, with the help of his son, he engaged in the propagation of Italian queen bees.

In 1887, being then seventy-seven years of age, he went to live in Dayton, Ohio. His wife, always a devoted helpmeet and source of inspiration to him, had died fourteen years before, in 1878. The death of his son, a railroad accident, and a recurrence of his old head trouble, caused him to give up active beekeeping; but he continued to take part in beekeepers' meetings and to maintain his interest in teaching and preaching. Beekeepers in all parts of the country, cognizant of the great importance of his work, now regarded him as 'the father of American apiculture,' and listened with great interest whenever he consented to address them.

In the meantime, circumstances or other influences had attracted him toward the Presbyterian Church, in which he had been born and raised. Writing under date of March 26, 1888, he says: 'I am now a minister in the Presbyterian Church. Although not a settled pastor, I preach occasionally, and delight in nothing so much as the Christian work.' And he mentions that his parents were members of 'Mr. Barnes' Presbyterian church' in Philadelphia.

He died on October 6, 1895, at the Wayne Presbyterian Church in Dayton, Ohio, while he was preaching the morning sermon. As he was then

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

eighty-five years of age and too feeble to stand throughout the sermon, the regular minister, Reverend Amos 0. Raber, had moved the pulpit aside and placed a chair for him to sit in. After a few opening remarks and requests for prayer from members of the congregation, he said, 'I am a firm believer in prayer. It is of the love of God that I wish to speak to you this morning-what it has been, what it is, and what it means to us, and what we ought-'

These were the last words that he spoke.

His daughter, Anna L. Cowan, who was present, has thus described the last scene:

'As he finished the last word he hesitated; his form straightened out convulsively; his head fell backward, and in about three minutes he was absent from the body, at home with the Lord. There was no scene of confusion in the church. Tears were running down every cheek, but there were no screams, no loud sobbing. As one person remarked, "Heaven never seemed so near before. It seemed but a step. The Ohio Beekeepers Association, at its meeting in August 1925, decided that it was time that more recognition was given to the man on whose discoveries so large an industry had been

[ocr errors]

founded, and it accordingly established a memorial endowment fund in Cornell University. As an outcome of this move the secretary of the Beekeepers Association, Miss Florence Naile, succeeded in bringing to light his long-lost journal. It was found in an attic in Dayton, where he had formerly lived. In this journal he kept record of his observations upon bees for fortyfive years. Though he mentioned it occasionally during his life, little was known of what was in it. It was found to contain innumerable records of observations upon bees of which only a small part had ever been published by him. It records in detail the steps through which his work passed in the invention of the modern beehive; and it is, therefore, a detailed history of the early stages of the modern science of beekeeping.

At the following meeting of the Ohio Beekeepers Association, at Medina, Ohio, in September 1926, this journal was formally presented to the Beekeeping Library of Cornell University, where it will be made available to future students of apiculture. It will form the corner stone of the Beekeeping Library of the University, which is now, in large part, a memorial to the man whose work has had such wide influence.



IF Al Smith goes to the White House, no small part of the credit will belong to the young men. Behind the Tammany organization of New York, behind the mass of deserving Democrats who are hoping to be led out of exile by New York's Governor, a great army of recruits is gathering under the Smith banners. It is a young army, untrained, but potent for all that.

These recruits care nothing for Smith's Catholicism, and little for the cause of religious liberty. They are not drawn to Smith because he dislikes prohibition, and most of them have a healthy mistrust of Tammany Hall. Many are Democrats, but almost as many are Republicans. It is neither Smith's creed nor his wetness nor his politics which is drawing the young men to his side.

Al Smith is not the stuff of which a young man's heroes generally are made. Watching him day after day in his office at the Albany Capitol, it is hard for one to picture him as the leader of a cause. About his conversation there is precious little of the crusader. His mouth curves more readily to a cigar than to a trumpet. He is interested in facts, not theories. Nothing would astonish him more than to put down the receiver after a talk with Olvany and be told by an earnest follower that he had captured the imagination of youth. If he ever thinks of himself impersonally, it is as a hardheaded governor, a practical politician. If it were suggested to him that he is a prophet as well, he would chew his

cigar, spit, and change the subject with a story about Mrs. Reilly.

The explanation of his appeal is n't found altogether in the Smith of today. One must turn back to the very beginning of his career in the Executive Mansion, to the first years of the peace, to see the events which were shaping Smith's hold upon the young men.

Woodrow Wilson was starting for Paris when Alfred E. Smith took up the office which had come as a reward for faithful service to Father Tammany. The of the nation were upon the eyes slight, nervous President, not at all upon the politician-governor at Albany. Wilson had been speaking for America as no man had spoken within the memory of the people. What the war had rediscovered in the national character,


the idealism, the capacity for sacrifice, the resolve to build a new world out of the ruins of the old, all this had been keenly felt by Wilson and had been given magnificent expression. If ever there was an American crusade, it was this intellectual and emotional

rebirth of 1918 and 1919.

Wilson came back and began his losing fight to convince Congress that his visions were practical as well as ideal. Throughout the battle, and long after Congress had rejected the peace treaty, Wilson remained the leader of the thought of America's young men. Public sentiment generally veered away from the President and toward the nationalist programme of Lodge and the Irreconcilables, but the

« AnkstesnisTęsti »