What's the real story on ancient pears

So I’ve been digging through archives on ancient pears to find out obscure facts long since forgotten. Specifically I wanted to know about many pears completely or almost lost to time. A fascination look back in time can be seen here " Catalog and evaluation of the pear collection at the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station
Hartman, Henry, 1889" http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/handle/1957/8578


Clark, that pamphlet is from 1957. 1889 is the birth date of Hartman. Still, this is a really useful handout as it has pears that did not exist when Pears of New York was written. This pamphlet is where I learned about Docteur Desportes for example, one of my favorite pears. Pears of New York and Leroy (in French) are the best sources for earlier information.


That was the title they listed I quoted but i knew the volume date. That’s what I was using as reference earlier. Some of those old pears like Doctor Deportes are pretty elusive. Doctor Deportes is doing very good for me.

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As your aware I’ve not yet fruited docteaur desportes but am really looking forward to the fact it tastes like Bosc. Thank you Scott for telling me about it and helping me to to get it.

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I should say the “like Bosc” is what Hartmann wrote… to me that is just a rough approximation.

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Here is another database I use besides grin to search ancient pears http://www.nationalfruitcollection.org.uk/a-z.php

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I’m not sure this is a pear tree but this is what it said and what it looked like.
" Workers cut a tree, 1800s

Believe it or not, this vintage photo of working on the upper branches of trees is real! They were pruning it to bear more fruits and continue growing. For children reading this, please don’t try it at home. Those men may look cool trimming trees up there, but they were putting their lives on the line. Besides, they were professionals so they knew what they were doing."


My brother used to climb trees like the guy at the top (maybe even higher) as a kid. Looking back, I’m a bit surprised he made it to adulthood.

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it’s a Dutch source. But i checked the google translate (plugin in chrome browser) translates it very well.


for example

A lot of the older quality pears came from Belgium, and where grown in the Netherlands, France and Germany. So a lot of information about those is found in those languages.

might also contain some descriptions of older pear varieties.

same as
it has digitized information from the original publication
dating back to 1868

This explains the language used back than. (first second third ranks for fruit size for example.


is the link for pears. You might want to search for the name first. and then activate the google translate plugin. Since sometimes google translate also translates names to the point where you don’t recognize them.

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Got curious whether this could really be a pear tree. Actually it is American Elm.

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If you take out everything below the fork, that’d be about what my two pears looked like when I bought my place. Still huge, and a lot more “kinked” (professional term, dontcha know) than that. No way I’d even consider trying to climb any of them. I see this one is not actually a pear, but I can also see how the confusion might have come about.