Scannable Items - Oranges, Schmoranges
Remember when agricultural items were shipped in wooden crates with those beautiful labels on them? I don't really, but I came across some of those ornate orange crate labels recently and had to scan them. The history behind these labels is quite interesting and have quite a tale to tell.
Back in the 1880s, the citrus growers in California desired something to make their products more recognizable. In came the graphic designers. Growers from Southern California teamed with lithographers in San Francisco and Los Angeles to design crate labels, mainly for wine, but the need for citrus labeling grew. A large lithographer in San Francisco, the Schmidt Lithograph Company, opened offices all up and down the West Coast to design and produce these little works of art. Illustrators and engravers worked together in this painstaking process.
The labels were illustrated in ways that would not only place the logo or mark of the grower, but sometimes would also invoke a little whimsy, or weirdness, to it. Some were historical, some had quotes or familiar sayings of the day on them, and still others made no sense at all. The growers resorted to many elaborate messaging methods to differentiate their fruit and achieve brand recall. Thank God for those designers!
The orange label craze ended in the '50s when the wooden crates became too expensive to make. Cardboard boxes with 2-color stamps then became the fashion.
Another beautiful art form, with practicle purposes for the business world, came and went in what seems like a nanosecond. But, we have a lot of them to study and marvel for generations to come. Another great reason to have a scanner!