This is an American apple named after Rome, Ohio where it was discovered around 1820 by Joel Gillett. One of his grafted trees had shot from below the graft and this stray branch began to produce very pretty, large, red-striped apples with very firm flesh.
The variety soon became popular especially among growers as it was easy to manage and the attractive fruits sold well. It also keeps well but the only drawback is its bland flavour. The apple is used in cooking because it keeps its shape well.