Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth
Born December 25, 1810 – October 6, 1895
Patent #: 9,300
Lorenzo Langstroth invented the modern beehive in 1851, enabling a greater
production of honey. The domesticated honeybee’s honey is not just a food
and sweetener, but is also useful as a topical antibiotic. The honeybees
themselves are helpful at pollinating farmers’ crops.
Langstroth was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from Yale College in 1831. As a hobby, he experimented with beekeeping and hives. Prior to Langstroths’s work, beekeepers could not monitor the health, production, or containment of bees while harvesting honey. His recognition of “bee space”—the idea that bees will not obstruct passages approximately their size, about ¼ inch—led him to invent the “Langstroth hive,” which contained frames carefully spaced in a box that could be removed and inspected. The hive also allowed the beekeeper to gather honey, attend to the bees, and prevent them from fleeing.