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Historical background information for varieties handed down from bygone days.

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Old July 2, 2015   #16
stevenkh1
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Hmmm...well, I have a digital copy of the 1st edition Livingston and the Tomato from 1893; the pages are pretty yellowed but here's the section on Acme and I digitally highlighted the pertinent Acme comments in other pages of the book. Does this help? NO question he writes Acme was purple but I've read the book and noted he never calls any of his varieties "pink".

I also ran across a 1940 Farmer's Bulletin which stated Acme was prolifically grown in the Northeast and North Central part of the U.S. and Eastern Texas. That will help me drill down to a few geographical areas.
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File Type: pdf Livingston and the Tomato book 1893 edition - Acme.pdf (470.6 KB, 22 views)

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Old July 2, 2015   #17
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From the Farmer's Bulletin in 1940...(attached).

So from 1875 thru 1940, Acme remained a wildly popular tomato...then *poof!* It disappeared while Trophy, Paragon, etc remains.

I hope you see why this is such a perplexing mystery (at least to me anyway).
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File Type: pdf Farmers_Bulletin 1940 - pg 4.pdf (172.6 KB, 10 views)
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Old July 2, 2015   #18
carolyn137
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Originally Posted by stevenkh1 View Post
Hmmm...well, I have a digital copy of the 1st edition Livingston and the Tomato from 1893; the pages are pretty yellowed but here's the section on Acme and I digitally highlighted the pertinent Acme comments in other pages of the book. Does this help? NO question he writes Acme was purple but I've read the book and noted he never calls any of his varieties "pink".

I also ran across a 1940 Farmer's Bulletin which stated Acme was prolifically grown in the Northeast and North Central part of the U.S. and Eastern Texas. That will help me drill down to a few geographical areas.
Nope, it doesn'thelp b/c when I highlight it in my saved stuff it keeps telling me I already have it in pdf form and when asked I click on replace it, and nothing happens, and yes, I do have many files via Acrobat Reader, so I don't know what the problems is.

And NO, he would not have indicated that ANY variety was pink since as I said above back then the word purple was used to indicate a pink tomato, and that's helpful for now I know, I just couldn't rememember, that the original Acme WAS pink, as is the de Georgie one so what I grew from GlennDrowns listing is correct.

What I now need to find is my Michigan Bulletin of 1939 which is THE definitive summary of early varieties and their synonyms and descriptions and and realtionships, their various names that a single variety was referred to, and heaven knows where that is around here, but maybe it will show up.

So Iguess I'll still have to ask someone to help me find my own, which is the 1883 edition reprinted as a paperback with Andrew Smith writing the forward.

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Old July 2, 2015   #19
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From the Farmer's Bulletin in 1940...(attached).

So from 1875 thru 1940, Acme remained a wildly popular tomato...then *poof!* It disappeared while Trophy, Paragon, etc remains.

I hope you see why this is such a perplexing mystery (at least to me anyway).
OK, I can download this one and also theLivigston one now as well.

But I don't think it should surprise you at all that a variety should disappear, lots did as evidenced in that Chicago Bulletin, but I don't think it HAS disapperaed quite frankly, I tend to think it's the pink one that de Georgie had and Glenn Drowns listed and still does.

After all de Georgie and Livingston were contemporaneous in IA at the same time, which makes even more sense to me at least

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Old July 2, 2015   #20
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I've read the links you provided (thank you) and the Tatiana & Mike/Victory state the Di Giorgi Acme appears to be a different tomato from Livingston's Acme.
I agree. It is much, much larger too. There is nothing about de Giorgi that suggests it would be true except a name. I think if you selected Livingston's Beauty could be selected for smaller size and color and you would have the closest thing to Acme possible and that is the sort of thing people like Victory could sell with the explanation.

From, "Livingston and the Tomato", written in 1892, when Acme was right in the middle of its cycle and before earlier tomatoes were commercialized (Acme was one of the original smooth tomato varieties released to the world).

What is also interesting in Livingstons's description he emphasizes how genetically true the variety was specifically for his Acme seed indicating there were issues with purity for knockoffs already mounting. Elsewhere in his book he disses those who would buy from other seed companies due to the tendency to provide crossed seed (LOL, that would include Di Giorgi and Buist's Garden Seeds, the latter being the Philadelphia knockoff of Acme that White purchased ca. 1900 and got his "Washington's"):

Several varieties of a purple color had gone upon or markets, such as Feje and the Perfected, with some others. They produced somewhat after their kinds, but always required a liberal culling out of inferior specimens.
Yet many gardeners especially in the Western States, became partial to a purple-colored tomato:and this taste prevails. As my Paragon was Red, and too late for early, and as I wished to try again my method which I had discovered the Paragon, I set about to discover a purple tomato.

I selected from a field of growing tomatoes, as before, a plant which bore small, uniform, early tomatoes and which had its own peculiarly marked characteristics; such as recommended it to my judgement as being the tomato to meet the demands of the trade at the time. I saved the seeds carefully, cultivated it up in a few years, and introduced it in 1875 as a perfectly new and distinct variety, under the name "The Acme Tomato". It is lighter in foliage than the Paragon and much earlier. In fact it is the earliest of the uniformly smooth varieties to the present time.


.... ....

It is of a bright purple color, very tender, and fine fleshed. It is specially grown for home uses but also a good general purpose tomato.
Many prefer it above all others. In fertility foliage, growth and earliness, smoothness, size and color its distinct type is clearly all it was 17 years ago.
In 1890 I grew some plants to test this matter, from stock seed of 1880--ten years old; and the result showed them to be exactly what what they had been 10 years before, viz., distinct and true to kind. They are, as stockmen would say, "thoroughbred;" and, at least under out cultivation, show no disposition to run out.
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Old July 2, 2015   #21
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Yes, pink NOT purple is VERY helpful!

A big swift kick in the pants is the 1910 Market Growers Journal states:

"Formerly only two brands of Tomatoes were recognized on the Chicago market - the market which determines the classification of most Illinois Tomatoes in so far as they are classified at all. These were known as "Acme" and "Trophy". All large, smooth, purple or pink Tomatoes were classed as "Acme", while all the bright red or scarlet sorts were classed as "Trophy"......Some of the varieties of Tomatoes extensively grown in southern Illinois which are everywhere recognized as belong to the Acme type are the Imperial, Livingston's Beauty, Trucker's Favorite, Dwarf Champion and Magnus. The leading variety of the Trophy type is the Earliana, and this has become so predominating a variety of that type that it is often quoted under its own name."

Well shoot...if that's the case, then how many other markets called all their tomatoes either Acme or Trophy???

Thank you for your patience - I am learning and this is so cool! I appreciate your expertise & guidance!!!
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Old July 2, 2015   #22
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Yes, pink NOT purple is VERY helpful!

A big swift kick in the pants is the 1910 Market Growers Journal states:

"Formerly only two brands of Tomatoes were recognized on the Chicago market - the market which determines the classification of most Illinois Tomatoes in so far as they are classified at all. These were known as "Acme" and "Trophy". All large, smooth, purple or pink Tomatoes were classed as "Acme", while all the bright red or scarlet sorts were classed as "Trophy"......Some of the varieties of Tomatoes extensively grown in southern Illinois which are everywhere recognized as belong to the Acme type are the Imperial, Livingston's Beauty, Trucker's Favorite, Dwarf Champion and Magnus. The leading variety of the Trophy type is the Earliana, and this has become so predominating a variety of that type that it is often quoted under its own name."

Well shoot...if that's the case, then how many other markets called all their tomatoes either Acme or Trophy???

Thank you for your patience - I am learning and this is so cool! I appreciate your expertise & guidance!!!
Are you responding to what I posted in 14?

"The innovation of Acme way back, was that it simply was the best shipper in the business for many years. That happened because it was the smoothest and firmest of its generation, the fresh market reds were still more fluted and damaged in shipping. If you were a produce buyer at that time, the pink Acme was so generic you could get away with calling all your 'purple' tomatoes Acme. Acme was considered to have a purple sheen when looked at, due to the effect of having deep red flesh, even though that causes confusion today it was part of the definition of the variety then."

If so, or anyway, glad to help. Thought I'd stick a copy of the Buist's Acme that was the description White ordered in 1900 for his experiment. Even though it is a knock-off, it has some useful info and a picture of the foliage at that time, though the seeds White received were contaminated.

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Old July 2, 2015   #23
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I am very appreciative to you both for helping me to find (or not find) the original Livingston Acme - not the dozens of off-varieties. I believe my grandmother (b. 1888) grew this variety (as she grew other Livingston varieties) in WV - which Nostalgia drives my quest.

As for taste, Virginia Agricultural Report (1909) stated, "stout, very vigorous, fruit medium to size, color purple red, flavor gentle sub-acid, pleasant to the taste, medium early variety here, good variety for home garden."

So I have to think it was a decent tomato for home growers which is why Livingston sold it in it's catalogs from 1875-1940. If it was a dud variety, it wouldn't have had a 65+ year run.

As my people are from the old Dominion (I currently live in Michigan), I was hoping to find the original. If I find old seed, of course I would ask Carolyn to bring it back from the dead - and I would give seed to Mike/Victory as he would have the means to share it with the world. Someone, somewhere has to have an old packet of Livingston's Acme seed.
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Old July 2, 2015   #24
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I had forgotten that Mike Dunton was a Tville member here, joined way back in 2006 when Tville started, but of course has not had much time to read/post here b'c of his seed business.

I don't know either of you that well, and whether you know I have to use a walker since back in Dec of 2004 I fell and severed all four quads in my right leg/ And I was getting more and more frustrated that I couldn 't fetch my Livingston book nor my Michigan Bulletin of 1939 ASAP.

So I just e-mailed Mike, gave him the link to this thread and asked if he would review it, noted my concerns to him, and asked when and if he had time he could stop by and share with us his impressions and conclusions.

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Old July 2, 2015   #25
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Oh Carolyn - I had no idea of your health issues and I am truly sorry to hear that. Believe me, getting old ain't for cissies, that's for sure! I wish you well, and thank you for your expertise once again.
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Old July 3, 2015   #26
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double post, sorry

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Old July 3, 2015   #27
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I don't know either of you that well, and whether you know I have to use a walker since back in Dec of 2004 I fell and severed all four quads in my right leg/ And I was getting more and more frustrated that I couldn 't fetch my Livingston book nor my Michigan Bulletin of 1939 ASAP.

So I just e-mailed Mike, gave him the link to this thread and asked if he would review it, noted my concerns to him, and asked when and if he had time he could stop by and share with us his impressions and conclusions. Carolyn
Carolyn, Despite all your difficulties, you have a wonderfully young mind and heart. It is a hard balancing act to keep the frustration in check.

I feel I know you after reading your interesting posts throughout the years. I've mentioned to you abruptly changing my life too, to become a caregiver for my Dear Mother.

She was locked in her body on a bed, completely immobile and unable to communicate, eat, or any other bodily function except breathe and see. According to her good doctors I would let them give her morphine and stop food, without considering or assessing her mental awareness or will to continue, which was passionate and obvious.

I researched and developed, as her body shut down before her mind was ready, solutions to all of these which gave her 5 comfortable years after that, in her own home watching the nature out the picture windows she so loved.

I can say honestly I had two bodies during the last 5 years of 24/7 intensive care and I didn't even know what I looked like by the time it was over. That's my story. I used gardening to heal.

**** ****

Regarding reviving the variety Acme, Victory Seeds, etc., I hope the person behind Victory can give us his thoughts. In a practical sense I would like to have a representative of Acme to grow. If no one can find one, I think the best bet is to take Livingston's Beauty and select for size and color. I probably will do this myself after getting interested through this thread. So I hope Mr. Dunton says what he thinks about that approach as it might save me some grief if I'm misguided, but these two tomatoes were apparently quite similar excepting a generally larger Beauty and slightly different tone to a critical eye.

My other thought is to start from Perfection. Perfection is available and could be simply that red version of Acme, selected from the field Acme was growing in 5 years after the introduction of Acme. Unfortunately the historical record doesn't seem to contain whether this was simply a skin mutation, or something else from that field. Perhaps I've missed something. But re-constituting program # 2 would be to cross Perfection (1880) with Livingston's Beauty (1886), select F2 if appropriate for true Acme type color as best as the descriptions allow, which I'm assuming is pink, back cross into Perfection a couple more times repeating the selection of progeny for color, size (with attention to firmness and not seediness), seeds each time and then just carry that selection forward, hoping it would be stable before long. The size would target a 6 oz. fruit unless there is an actual weight description elsewhere, at least in my interpretation.

I would be very proud to call that a resurrected (Livingston's) Acme if the inputs were true. I notice Victory has both of the mentioned Livingston varieties so that's good news because the site is refreshingly precise about where assumptions and what it offers. The genetics of Livingston's Beauty, as well as (Livingston's) Acme (1875), which may or may not be related to Paragon (seemingly a good bet to be a parent of Acme) since when they were developed they seem to be his best smooth releases when the field was small and he was the leader.

From my understanding, the biggest assumption with this approach deals with how many independent lines Livingston maintained in the early years. It sounds like he was more of a patient type, sticking to his best material and making huge grow-outs and studying them for both mutation and using selection pressure more than a shotgun approach of breeding lines. The information we have usually discusses selecting a plant from an earlier variety. It would be more efficient, since he had production commitments with his existing varieties.

Hope someone gives their thoughts on these approaches or perhaps has a better idea.

Cheers

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Old July 3, 2015   #28
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I received an e-mail back from Mike and he said he'd post here hopefully in the next couple of days.

It was kind of a catchup em on what had happened with him and his wife and the two kids he had with him when they visited me here at home a few years ago. He has other kids as well that weren't with them when they came back East for the Conference at the USDA at Geneva, NY on seed packaging, etc.. so he told me what they were doing as well.

And some family activities are planned for this weekend.

So he will be here eventually.

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Old July 4, 2015   #29
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Awesome! Thanks so much!

Yesterday, I was rummaging around the GRIN database and seen one tomato variety donated back in the 1950s from Canada that was nameless but kinda fit the description: pink, medium, early but of course no image. With over 9,000+ varieties of Toms, Livingston's Acme could be in there but it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Yes, I know to receive seeds that it has to be a research or education but I know a couple people at the MSU extension who also teach classes there and maybe they'll do a research class on heirloom vs modern hybrid growouts.

Plus I'm a Scout leader with both Cubs and Boy Scouts. With the Cubs, we do an annual garden to teach kids gardening and donate the food to help feed the hungry (this year, most of the toms I grew out and donated to the Cub Scouts are Livingston seeds I bought from Mike/Victory. With the Boy Scouts, there's the Gardening merit badge and Plant Science merit badge (my son earned both last year) and I can make a request to obtain seed to satisfy Gardening MB Requirements 2a, 3b, 4 and 5 and offer to donate seed back to GRIN. The worst thing GRIN will say is No, right?
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Old July 4, 2015   #30
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Agreed on Perfection - I did grow some this year so if I see a pink/purple varient, then just *maybe*. I did go over to the seed bank and boy...I do not envy anyone culling through all those tomatos.
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