Seedsmen Hall of Fame
Honoring Horticulturalists

Alexander W. Livingston

[ Bio ] [ Business History ] [ Livingston Tomatoes ]


Alexander W. Livingston (1821-1898) of Reynoldsburg, Ohio was a pioneeringAlexander W. Livingston seedsman who was best known as a developer of tomato varieties in the United States in the nineteenth century.

Although tomatoes had been cultivated to various degrees throughout the world, it was Mr. Livingston and his seed company who contributed more to the development of the tomato as a commercial crop than any other.

When Mr. Livingston began his attempts to develop the tomato as a commercial crop, his goal was to produce tomatoes that were smooth skinned, uniform in size and having better flavor.  Most tomatoes at that time did not possess any of these attributes.

After many attempts at hybridization, he began instead, a process of selecting seed from tomato plants exhibiting specific characteristics. It was using this selection process that he discovered a plant that bore perfect tomatoes like its parent vine.  After five years of selection, the fruit became fleshier and larger.  In 1870, Alexander introduced the 'Paragon' tomato.

Prior to his work, tomatoes were commonly ribbed, hard cored, and generally hollow fruit.  In all, A. W. Livingston and his company introduced thirty-five varieties of tomatoes.

From the diligent preservation work of Mike Dunton and the Victory Seed Company, many are again available to the home gardening public by clicking here.

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