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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Lug Label Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1890-1940
    Collection number: D-211
    Creator: University of California, Davis. Library. Dept. of Special Collections
    Extent: 12.4 linear feet
    Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Dept. of Special Collections.
    100 North West Quad
    Davis, California, 95616-5292
    Abstract: The Lug Label collection consists of approximately 2000 lithographed labels created primarily for containers of oranges, lemons, and apples. The majority of the labels are from growers and distributors from California's Central Valley. The collection spans the years 1890-1940.
    Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17 of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Lug Label Collection, D-211, Department of Special Collections, University of California Library, Davis, California.

    Administrative History


    This collection was constructed by the Special Collections Department from an accession of lug labels transferred by the Pomology Department. Labels are added to the collection as they are received.
    Paper labels to identify the brand name and packing location of boxes of fresh fruit were first used in Southern California in the 1880s. These labels replaced the earlier methods of identifying shipments of fruit: stencilling, stamping, or burning the brand information on the wooden crates.
    The completion of the transcontinental railroad changed the way California fruit was marketed. The national transportation network offered distributors the ability to send their products to customers on the East Coast. However, they needed an effective way to identify and advertise the product to those customers. They developed a wooden shipping box about 12" x 12" x 27", and used a paper label about 10" x 11" on the box end. The brightly colored label became an important part of the national marketing system.
    Growers and packers collaborated with commercial artists to design the labels. The labels identified the brand name and type of the product, the grower and/or packer, and their location. They also displayed images that would call attention to the product in the midst of competition. As a result, thousands of different label designs were produced.
    The use of the paper labels ended in the mid-1950's, when carboard boxes with preprinted labels came into circulation.
    Source: McClelland, Gordon and Last, Jay T. Fruit box labels: an illustrated price guide to citrus labels. Santa Ana, Calif.: Hillcrest Press, Inc., 1995.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Lug Label Collection consists of approximately 2000 lithographed labels created primarily for containers of oranges, lemons, and apples. The labels span the years 1890-1940 with the majority of them from distributors from California's Central Valley. The collection can provide researchers with examples of the evolution of art advertising and California agricultural history.
    The collection is organized alphabetically by the name of the distributor/packer. The item description for each of the labels provides the brand name of the product, the city, county, and state location of the packer and the type of fruit advertised.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Fruit crate labels--California--Sources
    Citrus fruit industry--California--Sources
    Citrus crate labels--California--Sources
    Apple industry--California--Sources
    Pear industry--California--Sources
    Grape industry--Califoria--Sources
    Commercial art