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JLJ_ October 4, 2013 05:12 PM

Marglobe & children, Pritchard, Break O Day, Rutgers
A discussion of Marglobe's child Break O'Day in another thread seemed to be migrating to a discussion of Pritchard, (man and tomato) so it seemed perhaps appropriate to put info on that topic here.

One good older source concerning the development of Marglobe and its early children is from the USDA Library's 1937 Yearbook of Agriculture:

Improvement and Genetics of Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant

It is here:

but if anyone is interested in accessing it while the govt sites are, er, sleeping, a google search for the title will offer a google cached copy which can be copy/pasted into a text document for easier reading.

It discusses tomato origins, European varieties, very early work with tomatoes including the dwarf Tree, tomatoes by Livingston, Ferry, and Burpee, and significant early tomatoes such as Bonny Best, John Baer, J.T.D and Cooper's Special, of which it says:

"The Cooper Special, a variety with a distinctive, determinate, or "self-topping" habit of vine growth, was introduced by C. D. Cooper, a farmer near Fort Lauderdale, Pia. It was found as a chance seedling by Bert Croft in Florida in 1914."

It then moves to efforts to develop disease resistance, with quite a bit on the work of F. J. Pritchard of the Department of Agriculture, including his development of a disease resistant selection of Merveille des Marchés (which Pritchard distributed as Marvel) and then crossing Marvel with the wilt resistant Livingstone Globe (a cross between Stone and Ponderosa) to produce Marglobe, described as "without doubt the most important variety of tomato in the United States and in the world today." ("Today" meaning 1937)

Among the children of Marglobe discussed is Break O'Day (Marglobe X Marvana) -- which included the disease resistant Marvel on both sides, as Marvana is (Marvel X Earliana). About Break O'Day it is observed:

"Break o' Day was received much more enthusiastically than Pritchard, as a result of preliminary trials; but it has subsequently slipped into a relatively unimportant place, largely because it fails to meet rigid color requirements under most conditions." (Break O'Day is still a nice tomato, as observed in the "Marglobe's child Break O'Day" thread, color variations that were commercial detriments in the 1930's may be interesting attributes now.)

It continues about Pritchard (Cooper Special X Marglobe):

"Pritchard, however, has become very popular on account of its superior scarlet color, despite the fact that it tends to bear most of its crop in a short time. It was expected to be of no value to canners because of this habit, but it is being used more each year." with the note "Introduced under the name of Scarlet Topper. Renamed Pritchard in 1932 after Pritchard's death in January 1931"

They seem to have underestimated the market power Marglobe's child Rutgers would have, saying that it "has been reported especially valuable on the light sandy soils of New Jersey" and then continuing with discussion of other regionally adapted tomatoes.

Roughly the first third -- about 12 pages -- of this document is about important early tomatoes, then it moves on to discussion of peppers and eggplant for the remainder of its 31 pages. Lots of interesting history there.

chancethegardener August 25, 2016 12:49 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is Pritchard's Scarlet Topper illustrated on the front cover of Condon's 1933 annual catalog.

slugworth August 25, 2016 05:16 PM

interesting 1933 price.
That was like 2 hours pay back then.

Cole_Robbie August 25, 2016 05:45 PM

I tried Marglobe for two years and didn't get a tomato off of it either year. I would never have made it as a tomato grower in the 1930's.

carolyn137 August 25, 2016 05:50 PM

Somewhere in this home of mine I have all the xeroxed pages from the 1939 Michigan Bulletin,sent to me by Craig L,and it's THE very best reference info I've ever seen for varieties of yore.

Individual varieties and histories,and synonyms for a variety that appeared,varieties grouped in different ways,and yes,a Marglobe group as well.

One of these days I'll get to the bottom of the stacks of SSE Yearbooks to my left on the floor since I think that's where I'll find it.

Carolyn,who would trust it,she thinks,even better than any govt publication.

Try this link

JLJ_ August 26, 2016 02:41 AM


Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie (Post 588893)
I tried Marglobe for two years and didn't get a tomato off of it either year. I would never have made it as a tomato grower in the 1930's.

That's really surprising, as you live where Marglobes are happy and should produce readily for you -- shouldn't take any special effort.

Did you grow original -- or allegedly original-- Marglobes or one of the "Supreme" or "Improved" or other variations?

Modifier on original as I've noticed that more recent Marglobes offered commercially seem to have changed from the originals -- or even from those widely available a couple decades ago.

So many things have been improved downwards in recent years that I suppose it's inevitable that tomatoes join the crowd - in some instances, at least.

Cole_Robbie August 26, 2016 02:54 AM

One year I ordered seed for Marglobe from Morgan County. The next year I got it in a swap.

I never have good luck with old varieties, at least the ones I know that are old. I had 'Buckbee's New 50 Day' this year, and it was at least a decent producer. I think it is fairly old. I liked it enough to save seeds

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