History and Stuff

Photos and links related to the history of fruit crate labels

The first orange train

  • Sunkist

    Sunkist has a great Web site with a summary of their history (starting in 1893), the history of citrus, and information on citrus fruit labels.

    Packing oranges in the orchard
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    Packing oranges in the packing house
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    In the 1880's, oranges were packed directly into their crates in the orchard. By the turn of the century the process had become more technologically sophisticated. See the Sunkist site for more pictures.

  • Doing History: Farmers' Market and Supply Towns

    Doing History is a project of the history department at the University of Northern Colorado, designed for elementary school kids. There are some great photos here, including:

    Photo: Packing peaches in the orchard

    This photo was taken in a peach orchard in western Colorado. You see women packing the crates under a canvas tent and men with picking bags.

    Photo: Apple packing plant

  • The History of Matson Fruit Company

    Matson fruit label

    The history of one independent Washington apple grower. The company was founded in 1908 and is still run by the Matson family. They've got a variety of pictures from the 1930's and 1940's. And, most interestingly:

    Video: Apple packing

    A 6MB, MPEG movie. If you have the time to download this it's worth it. The video shows the making, packing, and labeling of Matson's apple crates.

  • The History of Allan Brothers Fruit

    Another Washington grower with a great history page, recommended to us by James Matson of Matson Fruit.

  • The History of Hill Top Citrus

    A small agricultural coop in Florida started in 1909. They've got some neat photos, including:

    Photo: Packing an orange crate


    A Web site for hardcore fruit label collectors. The Webmaster is Pat Jacobsen, the author of the "Millennium Guide to Fruit Crate Labels: A Collector's Guide and Price Catalogue."

  • The Citrus Label Society

    A collector's club in Southern California.

  • Citrus Labels: 'Florida's First Billboards'

    Some notes on citrus label history and collecting, from Brenda Eubanks Burnette, author of "Florida Citrus Crate Labels: An Illustrated History."

  • Lithography

    A simple explanation of the lithographic printing process, from the Encyclopedia Britannica.


For colorful t-shirts, coffee mugs, mousepads, and other items printed with some of these labels, click here.

To e-mail a fruit crate label as a virtual postcard, click here. History and Stuff