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CRATE LABEL HISTORY
A Brief History
In the second half of the 19th Century the citrus industry started to reap another form of gold which was more profitable than California's other metallic gold. This industry grew at an unbelievable rate and so did the competition between the individual growers.

A new art form came into existence when some growers and co-operatives decided to emphasize and promote the quality of their fruit by distinctive names and brilliantly colored labels on the ends of their wooden shipping boxes. Famous artists, like Jay Ding Norwood Darling, provided the industry with his original pictures and sketches for promotions and advertising the co-operative fine fruits. His works and the works of his contemporaries beautifully drafted and reproduced in the richest colors possible expounded the virtues of the Golden California Oranges and Lemons. This was the mecca for the Stone Lithographers with their secret formulas and rare inks and nothing was spared in the unique process which was very costly at the time and totally extinct by the late 1920's.

There is a rare humor in many of the labels. Some seasons were bad and therefore the fruit inferior, so they were labels with sad looking dogs with names like Mutt, Mongrel and Fido, etc., but as always the labels themselves were magnificent in design and color. The labels changed every ten years or so, and depicted the theme of that time such as the Olympics, War, Fashion Fads, Indians, Birds, Animals, and Fantasy at its best. The zenith of the art was reached some time between the turn of the century and the 1920's.

The 1950's brought on the elimination of the artistic labels with introduction of the cardboard packing cases with their brand names stamped right on the box. At least 94% of the labels were liquidated and burned. Of the limited amounts of original labels now left, some predate the Sunkist Era and increase each year in value.

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