Designed in 1819, Robert Kerr's Stewarton hive was octagonal.
He lived in Stewarton, Ayreshire and the name is derived from that.
Octagonal hives were not a new idea... The octagon is not
far different from a circle and both circular skeps and wicker basket
style hives had been in use for many centuries. Notable among those
were William Mewe, John Gedde, Christopher Wren and Robert Hook
The boxes that were used to make up this type of hive were
in two basic depths:-
Although the terms 'brood box' and 'super' were not used at the time,
for simplicity I use them here.
Slide bars These were rebated to allow permanent retention,
its is also probable that in the original equipment the slides would
not be interchangeable. The modern production of these is accurate
enough for complete interchangeability... If that was ever necessary.
The boxes used for brood were nominally 7" (178 mm) or
8" (203 mm) in height. Whilst shallow boxes of nominally
4" (100 mm) were used for honey storage.
Observation windows... We may think it quaint to have
shuttered windows in hive boxes, but it was common in the 19th century
and kerr's Stewarton had ?? windows in each honey box, that could be
covered by sliding shutters.
Rev. Bartrum ... Outer cases
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Will Messenger has been researching the Stewarton and other
early designs of hive. He will actually manufacture one to order, but
be prepared for a long lead time and a high purchase price.
Originated... 13 Aug 2002