A few days ago I was intrigued to learn that the first recorded Observation Hive was made by Christopher Wren (later to become Sir Christopher Wren, designer of St. Paul's cathedral, London) whilst a student at Oxford in May 1654.
Taken from: The Reformed Common-Wealth of Bees, Hartlib, 1655.It was a three-storey, transparent beehive, in which the bees were able to move between the various layers of the hive, and glass panels set into the structure allowed an observer to see the honey cascading down inside it. Although Wren's construction had not been an immediate success (due to a failure to realise that bees worked downwards), it offered the prospect of an ever-increasing stock of bees and honey within the same hive. Sir Cheney Culpepper was enthusiastic about the possibilities of transparent hives, "wherein the whole waye of woorkinge of that little creature might be seene; by which wee might (I am confidente) have unsophisticated wines of our owne, cheaper & better then from other nations?"
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