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Bee Hive building & a place to share howto's on equipment
 #9586  by Little John
 11 Dec 2020, 11:35
NigelP wrote:
11 Dec 2020, 08:55
Little John wrote:
08 Dec 2020, 23:46
For the last few years I've been researching the period 1840 to the end of that Century, during which many of the 'standards' which we still see today in some parts of the world were established.
Yes that was a most interesting period in beekeeping. Which saw numerous hive designs, change over to movable frames. The first imports of "foreign" bees etc etc.
Indeed - one of my passions in life is establishing 'how we have come to believe what we do' and/or 'how certain things around us have become established as norms'. With regard to the Langstroth frame length - I wonder how many people know the reason Langstroth chose that ? And yet it has become a fixed standard, world-wide - thanks to Root of course.

One of my reasons for (possibly) reviving the Gallup Frame is that it's length features in Langstroth's 1852 Patent:
The inside dimensions of the box containing the combs, as I usually construct it, are as follows: Lenth[sic], eighteen inches and one eighth. This will give room for twelve movable frames. Breadth, twelve inches and one eighth. The extra eighth of an inch is to enable me to have sufficient play for slight variations in the glass. Depth below the rabbets nine or ten inches.
US Patent 9300, October 5th, 1852. 'Bee Hive', L.L.Langstroth, page 5, line 46 et seq.

And of course the only way of inserting 12 frames in a box 18x12 (with a depth of 9-10 inches) is to hang them across the 12-inch dimension - thus the frames must have been 11.25" long in order to preserve an appropriate spacing from the hive wall at both sides. His only negative criticism of that frame size was that a smaller frame would: a) mean having more of them, thus increasing hive manufacturing cost; and b) there would be more frames for a beekeeper to inspect, and so he adopted a larger size instead.
Enough ...

I agree - Huber was far in advance of his time.
LJ
 #9590  by Little John
 13 Dec 2020, 00:53
AdamD wrote:
12 Dec 2020, 16:48
I thought that the Langstroth frame was sized to suit a wine-case, if so, seems very sensible!
Cheers!
Hi Adam - yes, that's the most common explanation offered, and there may be some truth to it, although Langstroth himself later revealed that the frame length was based on the 18x18 by 6-inch depth removable-bar hive he had been experimenting with when he hit upon the ground-breaking idea of nailing side-bars and a bottom bar around those pre-drawn combs in order to stop the bees from attaching them to the side-walls. At the time he was trialing the 18x18 format in order to increase the upper surface area so that he could then place more honey-boxes on top (and thus obtain a larger honey-yield) than could be achieved with the common 12x12 box-hive which was in popular use.

In general terms, it was very much a period of 'suck-it-and-see' experimentation by guys who still had no clear idea of what worked and what didn't. It appears that he had been, and continued to experiment for a while using 6-inch multiples - this can be seen within his 1852 Patent I referred to earlier, where he describes a 18x12x12 inch hive - which must have housed 'Gallup-length' frames. Langstroth gave no hive dimensions in his 1853 First Edition of 'The Hive and Honey Bee' - these appearing from the 2nd Edition (1857) onwards.

As new inventions were introduced which influenced the way in which honey could be harvested, the landscape frame format no longer provided a clear advantage, and so in 1872 Langstroth seriously considered changing-over to a frame format to fit a 12"x 12" cavity, or (preferably) a 14"x 13"-deep cavity - but by that time A.I.Root had flooded the market with his 'Simplicity Hive' design, and so the die was cast - essentially for all time.
LJ
 #9595  by AdamD
 14 Dec 2020, 09:17
I have never understood why the WBC is one frame less than the National, although the lifts will just squeeze over them. According to Dave Cushman's site, the National frame was (finally) decided upon in 1882. in 1890, the WBC plans were published - fruit boxes are mentioned. http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/hist.html
 #9596  by Patrick
 14 Dec 2020, 11:19
The Victorian era was interesting for a lot of reasons, but the adoption of complicated and innovative “better” ways to keep bees often seemed a clear marker to differentiate the gentleman beekeeper, often clergy, with “scientific methods ” and equipment from the rural peasant skeppists that also kept bees. The skeppist used a system that was based on freely available materials easily made by the beekeeper, which rather limited their capacity to be made money from or be patented. An elitism comes across quite clearly in many texts, often (well, fancy that..) written by those who ran or were linked to beekeeping supply business.

The disparaging attitude to skeppists was often quite thinly disguised. I always wondered if the use of a sulphur pit to take honey was actually not as widespread as inferred but always seems quoted to discredit the method and by implication those who practised it. Alternatives like driving bees or nadiring are only ever mentioned as a curiosity. Rather like drone culling is often quoted to typify the ills of conventional beekeeping today (although I don’t know any hobbyist local to me who ever does that either). Their refined sensibility regarding killing bees to collect honey seems rather at odds with a number of their other behaviours and hobbies.

I don’t know if it was an apocryphal “repurposing” of a wine or orange crate but it came from a noble DIY beekeeping tradition of using free materials at hand. Long may it last.
 #9598  by Little John
 14 Dec 2020, 23:37
Patrick wrote:
14 Dec 2020, 11:19
The disparaging attitude to skeppists was often quite thinly disguised. I always wondered if the use of a sulphur pit to take honey was actually not as widespread as inferred but always seems quoted to discredit the method and by implication those who practised it.
The problem of the skep (or any fixed-comb hive for that matter) would appear to be not just that of 'killing the colony', but was also the difficulty of removing combs, either for inspection, making increase, or any of the numerous other manipulations modern-day beekeepers have become familiar with.

I've just translated a couple of chapters of Bastion's 'Theory and Practice of Rational Beekeeping' (1868), in which he sings the praises of Huber and Dzierzon, and yet is very lukewarm regarding Langstroth. The reason seems to be that the limitations of the skep had largely been solved by Dzierzon's removable-bar beehives - with Langstroth's invention being just so much icing on the cake in comparison.
But over in the States, where his invention was to replace the fixed-comb box-hives which were in common use at that time, his invention was therefore seen as a far superior improvement. There were some fairly advanced box-hives in use around 1840, such as John Weeks' Vermont Hive - but my word, that was uber-complex with it's honey-boxes being contained within sliding drawers etc. .

It's occurred to me that the enthusiasm shown towards any new invention will largely depend upon what existed immediately prior to it. If the advantages to be gained are relatively modest, then an equally modest level of enthusiasm would seem to be perfectly reasonable - and vice-versa.
I don’t know if it was an apocryphal “repurposing” of a wine or orange crate but it came from a noble DIY beekeeping tradition of using free materials at hand. Long may it last.
As one who is 100% wedded to re-purposing unwanted pallets into beehives - I wholeheartedly applaud that sentiment.
LJ
 #9601  by Patrick
 15 Dec 2020, 12:13
Very interesting LJ.

"sliding drawers" and working beehives sounds er, challenging. By the second season I wonder if anything still slid.

Interesting how many of these designs seemed bordering on observation hives rather than any likelihood of being used in numbers. As you say, uber complex manipulations are not something replicable at scale, maybe they were never intended to be. I remember a really interesting talk on the octagonal Stewarton hive, which involved cabinet making skills well beyond me..
 #9602  by NigelP
 15 Dec 2020, 13:14
Little John wrote:
14 Dec 2020, 23:37

I've just translated a couple of chapters of Bastion's 'Theory and Practice of Rational Beekeeping' (1868), in which he sings the praises of Huber and Dzierzon, and yet is very lukewarm regarding Langstroth. The reason seems to be that the limitations of the skep had largely been solved by Dzierzon's removable-bar beehives - with Langstroth's invention being just so much icing on the cake in comparison.
All interesting stuff LJ.
IIRC Dzierzons hive with moveable frames only had access from the rear, so every frame had to be removed to inspect the hive, whereas with a Langstroth hive you had immediate access to any frame from the top. A much more elegant solution that is in almost universal use today.

On the subject of using beespace and who discovered movable frames...the Greeks (and Romans) got there centuries before anyone else. They spaced wooden bars on their woven willow/Osier type top bar "basket" hives enabling them to remove frames as they wished. George Wheler in 1682 had seen this and wrote about the removeable combs and Greek beehives in his book "A Journey into Greece" but had not twigged that the Greeks spaced theirs at specific distances apart to achieve this.

Looks quite an interesting book, available for free on Google Books.
page 421 is where you need to be where he shows a sketch of the greek beehive and describes how they remove the combs individually. Interestingly the hive is of a similar construction to that described in a book on Roman Agriculture. Perhaps suggesting the Greeks copied from their pervious occupiers.

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