Home > History of Wine > Experiment diagrams from the 1890s of John Svedberg’s vineyard at Sterling, Virginia.

Experiment diagrams from the 1890s of John Svedberg’s vineyard at Sterling, Virginia.


Diagram 1. - Arrangement of vines in Svedberg's vineyard at Sterling, Va. [2]

Diagram 1. – Arrangement of vines in Svedberg’s vineyard at Sterling, Va. [2]

John A. Svedberg was born in Sweden but came to the United States where he was both a mechanic and draughtsman for the Navy Department.  He was known for designing nearly all of the engines that propelled the Naval cruisers.  He was also a horticulturalist of high regard and cultivated the grapevine in his vineyard at his home in Sterling, Virginia.  When the Department of Agriculture set out to study the treatment of black rot in grapevines it picked vineyards in Geneva, New York, Ithaca, Wisconsin, and that of John A. Svedberg’s in Sterling, Virginia.  Most of the work was carried out at John A. Svedberg’s vineyard since it was only 30 miles southwest of Washington, DC.  The work involved studying the effectiveness of eight different fungicides.

Diagram 2. - Plan of experiment in Vineyard 1. [2]

Diagram 2. – Plan of experiment in Vineyard 1. [2]

John A. Svedberg’s vineyard was comprised of 6,944 vines with the main varieties being Concord, Clinton, Norton, Virginia, Elvira, Ives, and Missouri Riesling.  When the work started the vines were described as being “in first-class condition”.  For this post I am not interested in describing the experiments that concluded the Bordeaux mixture was the most effective.  Instead, I am interested in the stark, graphic nature of the diagrams.  There were subsequent experiments carried out at the vineyard but only the first one resulted in such interesting graphics.

Diagram 4. - Showing the total number of vines in the treated and untreated plats, and the per cent of vines affected with black rot. [2]

Diagram 4. – Showing the total number of vines in the treated and untreated plats, and the per cent of vines affected with black rot. [2]


[1] “Death of John A. Svedberg.” Date: Thursday, December 31, 1896 Paper: Evening Star (Washington (DC), DC) Page: 12. Genealogy Bank.
[2] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Vegetable Pathology, Bulletin, Issues 1-4. 1891. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=xSwWAQAAIAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

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