- Maple Research Collection
- Date Created
This collection documents the history of maple research at the University of Vermont. Included in the collection is a selection of photographs from the archives of the Proctor Maple of Vermont (UVM), and the first permanent maple research facility in the United States. The photographs, taken...
This collection documents the history of maple research at the University of Vermont. Included in the collection is a selection of photographs from the archives of the Proctor Maple of Vermont (UVM), and the first permanent maple research facility in the United States. The photographs, taken between 1948-1957, document the construction of the field station’s first sugarhouse, as well as the PMRC sugar bush and early maple experiments. Also included in the collection are the published University of Vermont Agricultural Extension bulletins on maple research (1890-1988), taken from both the Proctor Maple Research Center archive and the University of Vermont Libraries Department of Special Collections.
Maple research in Vermont has a long history, dating back to the early 1890s, when C. H. (Charles Howard) Jones, head of the UVM Agricultural Experiment Station and a prominent early maple sugar chemist, conducted seminal research on the biology of maple trees to better understand the sap flow mechanism and its dependence on meteorological changes, as well as the considerable variance in sap sugar content.
In 1946, James Marvin and Fred Taylor founded the Proctor Maple Research Center with a donation by Governor Mortimer Proctor of the former “Harvey Farm” in Underhill Center, Vermont, to UVM. For the first year of operation, research on sap flow, maple tree physiology, and the economics of maple production were conducted in an 8’ x 12’ shed. In 1948, the first sugarhouse was constructed to allow research on syrup production techniques, followed several years later by the C.H. Jones Laboratory (which served as the primary research laboratory until it burned down in 1998).
Through the years, the PMRC has had its fair share of prominent maple researchers, scientists and educators, including Frederick Laing, whose research helped develop and improve methods of installing plastic tubing and directed improvements in using vacuum pumps to increase sap yields, and Mariafranca Morselli, who brought a greater understanding to the role of microorganisms in determining syrup grade, as well as developing methods to detect adulteration of maple syrup by adding other sugars.
In 1999, the PMRC was named to the National Register of Historic Places, and today houses facilities that include an 8,000 square foot laboratory and a demonstration and research sugarhouse, as well as the original research shed.