Sugar peas (early bush) reads one of the hand-painted labels on the little drawers below.
Telegraph Cucumbers, American Wonder Peas, Marrow Peas.
Each bag is equipped with the Mauthner name, his best seeds.
BEWARE OF IMITATIONS.
My friend Henri (who owns my favourite shop on this planet - Koöperasie Stories) was on one of his Eastern European buying trips when he sent me an image of this beautiful old shop display cabinet.
I didn't dream then that I would one day own it,
but life's full of surprises.
I started to do some research and fell down many a fascinating wormhole.
Meet Mauthner Odon - agronomist and entrepreneur,
born in 1848 in Budapest, Hungary.
After studies applied to seed breeding at the Magyaróvár college and abroad, he founded a large company and experimental station, employing 800 workers. He received merits from the Hungarian nobility.
He was president of the Hungarian National Association of Grain Traders, editor of The Horticultural Papers and The Garden.
The sprawling factory in Budapest still exists - it was converted to apartments and though listed, is falling into disrepair.
There is a seed wholesale building, a customs house, a granary for sorting and cleaning. A vast courtyard. There was once a garden.
I found labels, seed packets and letters.
I found his crumbling villa in Budakeszi Road.
I found his grave in the National Cemetery.
Only then did I discover his first name.