Saturday, June 28, 2014

1895 - A. W. Livingston's Sons

1895 - Source:
Interesting name!  Livingston's Sons.  I have never seen a company named like that, have you?  

I have jumped into an old seed company's history after the son has taken the reins.  But this cover with its phrasing just caught my fancy.

Consider this posting, with the brief history below, an introduction to the family, with many nice images from catalogs to follow.  AND, since A.W. is very important in the history of tomatoes, be expecting some very lush lithographs as well as interesting tomato gossip.


This envelope is unusual.  It is addressed to Livingston's Sons from another seedsman, Nordlinger, an importer. 

I so like the whimsical carrot page...bunches hanging on nails with their names in fancy-dan script! Those lovely concentric circles around the little Golden Ball's root end!!

The following text history is from the still extant company web site!

Livingston Seed was founded in 1850 by Alexander Livingston. Mr. Livingston developed the first reliable tomato variety and cultivated a total of 31 varieties under the name “Buckeye Garden Seed Company”. The first of these was the Paragon, introduced in 1870. However, in Mr. Livingston’s day tomatoes were generally thought poisonous. In fact, tomatoes were prized more as exotic ornamentals than edibles.
As Buckeye Garden Seed Company, Mr. Livingston first tried hybridization, and eventually began a careful selection of traits from generation to generation. Eventually his hard work fine-tuned the tomato into the fruit we know today.
With the economic crash of 1876, the company filed for bankruptcy. It was Mr. Livingston’s son, Robert who reformed the company under the name “A.W. Livingston’s Sons” and continued his father’s success. In 1898, the company was incorporated as “Livingston’s Seed Company” and continued as a family run business until 1979. Alexander Livingston’s great-grandson, Alan, sold the business to Mr. Forest Randolph. He changed the name to “Superior Seed Company”, but Mr. Randolph’s ownership was brief. By 1980 Mr. Robert Johnston had acquired the company and changed the name back to Livingston Seed Company.
Over the years, Livingston Seed has evolved greatly. Originally the business was only in bulk seed offering grass seed, vegetable, and flower seed, as well as bulk seed displays. As the company grew, Mr. Johnston saw opportunity in the packet seed market. In 1998 he began to develop a seed packet line which would eventually grow to include 12 different collections and over 500 varieties.
Today, Livingston Seed offers an expansive range of vegetable and flower seeds in both packets and bulk, as well as many display options. Livingston Seed has continued to search out new varieties, merchandising, and packaging all designed with you and your customer in mind.