Vintage Fruit Crate Labels

September 19, 2011

In case you didn’t notice, Goggle’s logo illustration on Friday was an old-timey grouping of citrus fruit very suggestive of vintage fruit crate labels. This being a genre of illustration I’m interested in I decided to go down the rabbit hole and clicked on it. It ended up taking me to a very informative Wikipedia page about Albert Szent-Györgyi, the scientist who discovered vitamin C and its connection to citrus fruit. I hate to say that I was a little bit disappointed that it hadn’t taken me to a wonderland of label art. So, in response to that I had to go in search of links that would take me to exactly that kind of wonderland. Here, my friends, are the fruits (pun intended) of that search and a few great images to whet your appetite for this very American form of ephemera. Antique Label Co. Antique Label Co. has a nice selection and breaks down the searching by the common motif on the labels (flowers, animals, pretty girls, etc.) It has a lot of good information on the history of fruit crate art, and each individual entry contains a ton of specific information about that label and its origins. Very thorough.   Label Collector The labels on this site are broken down by a slightly different set of themes, but the menu is very visual and easy to navigate.The preview images are smaller on this site than on the others. This label for Flood Fruits and Vegetables is maybe the most ominous fruit crate label I found. An uncharacteristically bold and graphic fruit crate label. I can almost smell the Russian Constructivist influence. I found it interesting that one of the running themes among the labels was a "big city" motif.   Vintage Depot Direct These guys carry fruit crate labels and a slew of other printed ephemera. The also had bottle and cigar box labels and various other nonlabel items like stock certificates and Victorian lithographs. Great selection. Love the use of a visual mnemonic to remember the name Bucking-ham. Here's a label for chewing tobacco. And there are a few labels scattered throughout of companies that still show up on grocery store shelves. It's fascinating to see what their packaging looked like in the first half of the 1900s.   The Label Man As you can see below, The Label Man has the largest preview images of all the sites, which makes it easier to see detail. The categories here were broken down by fruit and location. There are can labels and magazine ads to peruse as well. Maybe one of the most random tie-ins on a label: the co-ed. Here's one of the magazine ads on the site. These were broken down by product as well.

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