Burpee began selling purebred fowl by mail order when he founded his own firm in 1878. Within two years, the seeds that he had included as supplements in the catalog became so popular that he fully converted his business to their sale. He searched the globe for robust seeds and developed a “laboratory farm” in Pennsylvania to test his new offerings. In addition to describing the benefits of his seed offerings, Burpee’s catalogs included much-loved anecdotes and stories about his travels and the various uses of the seeds. By the time of his death, Burpee’s company was well on its way to being the largest seed mail-order house in the world.