Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why are Fruit Crate Labels Still Around?

I get asked often why are these labels still around. Actually for as many labels that were printed the last 100 years there really is only a small number that survived. The bulk of what is available came from warehouse finds. This started in the 1960's when a few people started gathering labels. Usually, if a packing house is still standing or in operation they never threw out the old labels. There are a few reasons they were never thrown out… labels were inventory they had paid for and you never know when they may come in handy, working with cardboard boxes took up less room so they didn't need the area labels were stored, and lastly they were poor housekeepers.

Next to warehouse finds the major source is lithograph or printers files. Printers would keep a few of everything they did production runs of. They would take a handful, stamp the back with the current date and archive them in a sample room. When someone reordered they could pull the labels out of the archive and if any changes were made they would pencil in the changes and the artists would redesign the labels. You often see printer's files labels with date stamps and pencil marks.

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