|These are Original Fruit and Vegetable Crate
and Can Labels and are NOT reproductions
These labels are ALL Original!!
A brief history of Fruit and Vegetable Crate Labels:
Fruit and vegetable crate labels were originally designed to attract the attention of
produce wholesalers and distributors during the first half of the century. The labels were
affixed to the ends of wooden boxes to distinguish one growers produce from another.
Labels acted as advertising and gave the grower whose labels were most visible among
the stacks of otherwise identical fruit crates an advantage in the marketplace.
Clever devices were used to give the labels originality. Brand names were derived from
puns personal to the grower, imagery depicted scenes of the regions where the produce
was grown and certain background colors were used to indicate the produce grade.
The use of crate labels as advertising is now obsolete, but in recent years this
memorabilia has become desirable to collectors of rare and interesting illustration art.
Until recently, the primary source of fruit and vegetable crate labels has been the packing
houses. Because of the switch to pre-printed cardboard boxes in the 1950's, a large
quantity of labels lay unused and many were destroyed as a result.
During the past 40 years or more, labels have begun to surface. They have become
available to collectors and just about anyone interested in historical and decorative art
and to note that this is a fantastic piece of Americana.
The practical reason for the creation of this wonderful art was simply for it's use as
product identification. Tens of thousands of labels were designed and used on millions of
Labels from the 1880's to the early 1900's were printed using the stone litho method. Then,
in the 1920's, plate lithography was introduced. Later, printers went on to use the
cylindrical litho method for speedier, but not cheaper, production.
The premiere printing houses were located in San Francisco, California. The printers
would usually have a staff of artists employed to create these mini-masterpieces that
represented the lifestyle and values of an era that spanned 150 years.
The growers were very taken by the palms, the Indians, the cowboys, the flowers, and with
the tropical beauty of California where the earth is so rich, that even today, the Salinas
Valley is called the Salad Bowl of America.
On their labels, many growers would feature their favorite animal or even their children.
Landscapes and seaside imagery was also popular, as was pin-up type art. With such a
variety of possible subjects, more than 5000 different labels were printed. Today, the
grape growers still use labels on the "flats" made of cardboard with wooden ends. But as
production has become far too costly, the labels are not as artistic as in the past.
Sometimes labels come in sets like "King David, Queen Esther & Rebecca". In such cases,
the grade of the fruit is represented by a certain image or color. For example, Sunkist
used this set, among others, to distinguish between it's top grade oranges, which were
wrapped in paper and labeled "King David", and it's lower grade oranges, labeled "Queen
Esther" or "Rebecca".
Most label studies have focused on the labels of citrus fruit coming from California, even
though Florida and Arizona have been growing citrus since the 1500's. The ongoing
interest in these labels, however, reflects a fascination in the imagery created and used
in the American West during a very prosperous time in this country's history.
Enjoy the art of the past!!
Please go to the sidebar for the links to the ORIGINAL Labels
The prices of the labels depend on availability and how rare it is.
This is the reason we have printed these rare labels on Canvas.
Please go to the 'CANVAS CRATE LABELS' link to see our
|The links below will
take you to ALL
|Italian Marble Tiles