Langstroth, L. L. (Lorenzo Lorraine), 1810-1895

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1810-12-25
Death 1895-10-06

Biographical notes:

Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth was an apiarist.

From the description of Papers, 1852-1895. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122440361

Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth (25 December 1810-6 October 1895) was a clergyman, teacher, and apiarist. He was born in Philadelphia, and graduated from Yale University in 1831. He was a Congregational pastor in Massachusetts, during which time he married Anne Tucker (1812-1873) and with whom he had three children. In 1848 he returned to Philadelphia to become the principal for a school for young women, when he also entered his avocation for bee-keeping.

In working with various kinds of bee hives, including a movable-frame hive that had been invented by Francis Huber in Switzerland, Langstroth was the first to formulate a different moveable-frame hive that better utilized the "bee space" partly by implementing a top-opening hive. (The "bee space" is a bee-sized gap left between the combs and the hive cover, large enough for bee movement but too small for the bees to create a new comb there.) With his new design, the cover board could be opened without unduly disturbing the bees. It also allowed the apiarist to remove individual combs and to easily examine the condition of the hive to implement corrective measures should they be needed. The construction further allowed for the removal of honey without disturbing the comb, which then allowed the bees re-use of the comb.

Working with cabinetmaker Henry Bourquin in Philadelphia, Langstroth created a complete hive with all-moveable frames, for which he receved a patent on 5 October 1852. Bourquin continued to manufacture these hives for a number of years, which Langstroth sold to other apiarists. However, the design was soon copied and entered even more widespread use, and for years Langstroth unsuccessfully sought to defend these infringements on his patent.

In 1858, Langstroth moved to a ten-acre homesite in Oxford, Ohio, where he took up bee-keeping full time. "Langstroth Cottage" is today a National Historic Landmark, a part of Miami University. Here with his son, James, he sold bees and apiary equipment.

Langstroth also was the author of several books on bee-keeping. During his career he kept in correspondence with numerous publishers of bee-keeping journals as well as other apiary suppliers.

L. L. Langstroth died while about to deliver a sermon in the Wayne Avenue Presbyterian Church, in Dayton, Ohio.

From the guide to the L. L. (Lorenzo Lorraine) Langstroth papers, 1852-1895, 1852-1895, (American Philosophical Society)

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Subjects:

  • Bees

Occupations:

  • Beekeepers

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