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Maple History Timeline

1540 Jacques Cartier first observed North American maple trees while exploring the St. Lawrence River.
1557 First written account of maple sugaring in North America by André de Thevet, a French monk, in Les Singularites de la France Antarctique.
1606 Marc Lescarbot describes collection and "distillation" of maple sap by Micmac Indians in the Histoirie de la Nouvelle France.
1788 Quakers manufacture and promote the use of maple sugar as an alternative to West Indian cane sugar, which is produced with slave labor.
1791 Thomas Jefferson, promoting maple sugar as a "homegrown alternative" to slave-produced cane sugar from the West Indies, starts a maple plantation at Monticello.
1810 Wooden spouts, or sap spiles, become popular with the use of augers, replacing the crude gashing or "boxing" techniques.
1818 Maple sugar sells for half the price of imported cane sugar.
1850 The introduction of the "sugar shack" or "sugarhouse," the outdoor shack or building used to boil down sap.
1858 D.M. Cook of Ohio patents the first evaporating pan.
1860 Eli Mosher patents the first metal sap spout (tap).
1860 Peak maple production year for the United States, with 40 million pounds of maple sugar and 1.6 million gallons of maple syrup reported to the USDA.
1864 David Ingalls patents an evaporator pan with baffles in the bottom to help channel the boiling sap.
1872 H. Allen Soule or Vermont designs the first evaporator with two pans and a metal arch or firebox, decreasing boiling time.
1875 The metal sap collection buckets were first introduced.
1880 Cane sugar and maple sugar are approximately equal in price.
1884 G.H. Grimm of Ohio patents the first sugar evaporator.
1885 Cane sugar is cheaper than maple sugar for the first time.
1888 Leader Evaporator Co. is founded in Vermont, becoming the dominant maple-equipment supplier.
1889 Small Brothers of Quebec patented an evaporator that bent the pan into a series of flues, increasing the heated surface area of the pan and decreasing boiling time.
1891 McKinley Bill attempts to promote maple sugar manufactur by offering a two-cents-per-pound bounty to producers.
1893 Vermont Maple Sugar Makers' Association is formed, playing a huge role in setting industry-wide standards.
1904 Cary Maple Sugar Company becomes incorporated in Vermont, becoming the largest wholesale sugar company in North America.
1906 U.S. Pure Food and Drug Act makes adulteration of maple syrup with glucose illegal.
1916 W.C. Brower of New York invents metal sap-gathering tubing, which eventually proves impractical due to freezing at night and leakage.
1935 Vermont institutes spring Maple Festivals, with 134 towns across the state staging events (the Vermont Maple Festival in St. Albans, Vermont, continues to this day).
1940-1945 Maple prices hold steady at $3.39/gallon during World War II.
1946 The first commerical power-tapping machine is marketed.
1946 The Proctor Maple Research Center, an Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Vermont, is founded.
1959 Nelson Griggs of Vermont patents the first plastic sap-gathering pipeline system.
1970s Reverse-osmosis technology is introduced to concentrate sugar content of the sap before boiling.
1988 The North American Sugar Maple Decline Project begins studying the health of maple trees to determine maple decline.
2007 Timothy Perkins of the Proctor Maple Research Center patents a tap that prevents bacterial contamination and backflow of sap.