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Quinby's New Beekeeping

Quinby's New Beekeeping: The Mysteries of Beekeeping Explained

Moses Quinby

If L. L. Langstroth is recognized as the father of modern beekeeping, then Moses Quinby (1810-1875) is the father of commercial honey production. The two men were contemporaneous in life and publishing: born the same year, they also published their first books the same year. The work of these two men, whether disseminated in print or in person, would revolutionize beekeeping in America.

Quinby, in his early 20's, established a beekeeping business, eventually owning 1,200 hives in New York's Mohawk Valley. As a practical man, he sought to make his business more efficient and created several beekeeping aids: one of the first honey extractors in the country, the first useful knife for preparing comb for honey extraction and the first practical smoker, a hand-operated bellows that blew smoke through a tin fire pot. The latter was a very popular improvement over the previous practice of using a smoldering stick to subdue the bees during hive inspection or comb removal.

Quinby's original book, The Mysteries of Beekeeping Explained, came out in 1853. After his death in 1875, his son-in-law, L. C. Root revised the book to bring it up to date and added more illustrations. Quinby's New Beekeeping: The Mysteries of Bee-Keeping Explained was published in 1879, and was followed by several new editions through the early 1900s.