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Historical background information for varieties handed down from bygone days.

 
 
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Old October 4, 2013   #1
JLJ_
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 755
Default 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:

naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/IND43893558/PDF

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.
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