This is a very old, over 100 years, commercial variety from the 1890’s released by John A. Salzer Seed Co. of LaCrosse, WI. It was common practice for seed companies of that period to rename current varieties so it looked like they had a new release of their own. There is good probability that this is a renamed Ponderosa or was selected out of it.
Here is a link for the Salzer Seed ad in their catalog. As you can see, they tended to exaggerate just a wee bit - sort of like seed catalogs of today. It is neat to look through old seed catalogs with their interesting illustrations. Although it is sad to note that many, many of those varieties are now lost.
Here is an excerpt from the -
“Thirty-fourth Annual Report of the State Board of Agriculture of the State of Michigan
July 1, 1894, to June 30, 1895
To Hon. John T Rich, Governor of the State of Michigan:
Sir – I have the honor to submit to you herewith, as required by statue, the accompanying report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1895, with supplementary papers.
Ira H. Butterfield,
Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture”.
Then on page 548 it lists:
“The following are sorts of recent introduction:
Ferris Wheel, Salzer - Plant a strong and vigorous grower. Closely resembles Ponderosa in foliage and fruit, although the tomato is more regular in form and the flesh scarcely as coarse. It is a late ripening variety.”
This was a fascinating 900 page report covering the budget, wages, reports from all depts. of the college and more.
Craig LeHouiller, author of Epic tomatoes, asked for varieties from the USDA to grow out while looking for old Livingston varieties. He received this one with what sounded like an interesting name, grew it out and in researching it found out it was this rare variety. We are so glad that he resurrected this one for us all to enjoy.