Langstroth Model (Untitled)
This untitled work by Robert Gaston is a scale model of the Langstroth beekeeping method in bronze. This new type of hive was revolutionary to modern beekeeping because it allowed for what is known as “beespace.” The spaces between the frames is wide enough that bees can crawl through but narrow enough to prevent the bees from building comb or laying eggs between the frames. Thus, the frames could easily be removed without being destroyed for inspection and harvest. The inscription on the face of the model is a quatrain by Langstroth, based on Homer. It reads: Like leaves on trees, the race of bees is found, now green in youth, now withering on the ground, another race the spring or fall supplies, they stoop successive and successive rise. --Langstroth after Homer. The dedication of the Langstroth residence, the honoring of Langstroth, and the unveiling of the sculpture were part of an event sponsored by the Ohio Beekeepers Association and the Butler County Beekeepers Association. It took place in September of 1976, during the yearlong celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial. The Langstroth Cottage is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
Robert Gaston is a former Fine Arts instructor at Miami University. In addition to this sculpture, Gaston has also created a sculpture for the Middletown regional campus of Miami University. This memorial work is entitled “Guardians of the Path.” Gaston works both in bronze and concrete. Although the Langstroth model is a representational work, Gaston’s other works tend to be abstract. Gaston has created several historical or monumental sculptures to commemorate the events of our regional history.
Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth is often said to be the father of American Beekeeping. He lived from 1810–1895. Langstroth famously discovered that when his bees had a space of less than 3/8 inch but larger than 1/4 inch of space available between honeycomb frames they would refrain from building comb and they would not close it with propolis. This measurement was coined as “bee space” in his patented design. He gained a patent for his new hive construction in 1852. Langstroth was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Yale and found an interest in religion and became a graduate of the Yale Divinity School. He moved to Oxford, Ohio to serve as the Presbyterian Minister. Later in his life Langstroth wrote his book “Langstroth on the Hive and the Honeybee: A Beekeeper's Manual,” a manual that is still widely as reference for modern beekeepers. The Langstroth Cottage as it is known today is the oldest building on Western Campus.