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Photo of peach tree surrounded by chain link fence twice as high as James Markham standing in front of it. Image is very dark.
James E. Markham, Illinois farmer, standing guard over peach tree he sold to a St. Louis, Mo., nursery after experimenting five years to develop a normal fruit with a dwarfed seed. He was paid $2,500 for the tree. (source)
Peach Tree Guarded Treasure

From The Evening Independent (1928)

Fairfield, Ill.—James E. Markham worked five years to produce a peach that would be of normal size but have a very small seed. His efforts so discouraged him that six months ago he decided to sell the farm. There was no buyer, so he went back to his experiment.

One day he found a tree full of peaches that in maturing had turned a vivid red color. He cut into some of the fruit and discovered the seeds were no larger than those of plums.

A sample of the new peach was sent to a St. Louis, Mo., nursery with a penciled note of explanation. The next day an executive of the nursery was at his farm and within a few hours had purchased the tree for $2,500. A steel cage was built around the tree until its buds could be stripped away. It cost $1,000 to build the cage, and Markham mounted guard for his customer.

Five bushels of fruit were taken from the tree. The peaches were slightly larger than the typical Illinois peach. Nothing has been revealed concerning the development of the “Markham peach,” as it is to be known, except that it is the result of a long process of serum treatment, pollenization and grafting. It ripens two weeks later than the Hale variety.

From The Evening Independent (29 Nov 1928). (source)


See also:
  • 16 February - short description of this fruit tree patent plus other births, deaths and events on 16 Feb.
  • U.S. Plant Patent 7 - Peach issued to James E. Markham

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
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by Ian Ellis
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