- Arts and Design
vintage fruit crate labels Oranges
California was a early citrus produce, but it wasn't profitable. They needed access to the heavily populated Eastern US markets. Before the completion of the trans continental railroad in the 1880's, fruit just rotted on the tress for lack of a market. But after that,oranges could quickly be transported across the country.
The oranges were shipped in wooden crates and it wasn't long before it was realized that the ends of the crate was prime advertising space. Growing cooperatives were common in the citrus industry, the farmers remained independent, but joined the cooperative to market their fruit. At one time California had dozens of these groups, the most famous is the one that is still around, Sunkist. Sunkist is not a corporation it is still a grower's cooperative.
Through the years thousands of different designs have been created, most eye catching and attractive. The designs were typically drawn in California, even for other states. Some grower co-ops just used one design over and over , but many went to the trouble of changing their designs more often.
Collecting the paper labels is a popular hobby, and actually isn't that expensive. In the 1950's the growers switched to lighter, cheaper cardboard boxes while they still had hundreds of thousands of labels lying around. It is cheaper to buy large print runs, so they were really stocked up. The labels proved to be collectible and are always being sold somewhere.
Below are a small selection of the labels for oranges, I believe these images are in the public domain and you can use them on your website or blog. I have made some into cross stitch patterns which you can access below.
The designs are divided into some of the most common themes.