Lorenzo L. Langstroth (1810 – 1895)
Father of American Beekeeping
Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth was born December 25, 1810, in Philadelphia. He became pastor of the South Congregational Church in Andover, Massachusetts in May of 1836 and was a teacher at Yale University. In 1852, he moved to Oxford, Ohio and took up the work of bee keeping for which he is best known. The world of insects held a fascination for Lorenzo from a very early age but the one that turned out to be his life-long ambition was the bee. It was while visiting the home of one of his church members, who was a keeper of bees, that his interest in bee keeping was once again revived. Mr. Langstroth tried his hand at beekeeping and quickly became dissatisfied with the primitive methods of harvesting the honey. He read the latest books of his time, but their methods were crude, resulting in the death of a large amount of the bee population, so in order to attain the honey he constructed a beehive which contained a baseboard where the bees entered. What was the main difference between his beehive and the rest?
Before Mr. Lanstroth’s invention, the bees attached their combs to the walls of the hive and the only way to get the comb out was to cut them out, which spoiled the comb and wasted much honey.
Mr. Langstroth’s hive housed a removable frame, a place to store the excess honey and a roof. He left a 3/8″ space between the hive wall and the frames in which the combs were built. The bees did not build across the space, leaving the comb frames free to be easily removed by the bee keeper.
His book, “Langstroth on the Hive and the Honey-Bee” written in 1853, was reprinted, revised and translated into various languages before and after his death. Though his invention was used throughout the world, he made little money because of infringements of his copyright, Patent No. 9300. He did not have the financial resources for attorney fees, court costs, etc. Mr. Langstroth lived in the East End of Dayton in 1894 with his daughter, Anna L. Cowan. Lorenzo Langstroth passed away at the podium while addressing the Wayne Avenue Presbyterian Church on October 6, 1895 at the age of 84. Mr. Langstroth is located in Section 103 lot 2634 at Woodland Cemetery. Cemetery records reflect the name on the file card was Longstroth but someone had later hand written the name Langstroth and added “Bee Man”.
The following is the inscription on the front of Mr. Langstroth’s monument:
Inscribed to the memory of Rev. L.L Langstroth, “Father of American beekeeping,” by his affectionate beneficiaries who, in the remembrance of the service rendered by his persistent and painstaking observations and experiments with the honey bee, his improvements in the hive, and the literary ability shown in the first scientific and popular book on the subject of beekeeping in the United States, gratefully erect this monument.
The back of his monument reads:
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord,
that they may rest from their labors, and their
work do follow them.”
Woodland Cemetery, founded in 1841, is one of the nation’s five oldest rural garden cemeteries and a unique cultural, botanical and educational resource in the heart of Dayton, Ohio as you will see as you read through this new MostMetro.com series. Visit the cemetery and arboretum and take one of the many tours Woodland offers free of charge. Most of Dayton’s aviation heroes, inventors and business barons are buried at Woodland.
Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum is located at 118 Woodland Avenue off of Brown Street near the UD Campus. The Woodland Office is open Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm and Saturday 8 am to 12 pm. The Cemetery and Arboretum are open daily from 8 am to 6 pm. The Mausoleum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. For more information, call 937-228-3221 or visit the Woodland website.