Yakima Valley Museum

exhibitphotoThe Ultimate Apple Label Exhibition
The Ultimate Apple Box Label Exhibition, based on the Yakima Valley Museum's newest publication, The Ultimate Fruit Label Book, opened February 10, 2006.  This exhibit traces the origins and development of the apple box label, describe the growth of the apple industry in the Yakima Valley and how that is reflected in apple box labels, and take a look at label collecting.  The Ultimate Apple Box Label Exhibition will continue through January 6, 2007.

Today, everyone takes for granted the use of the product label as a simple identification and marketing tool.  As early as the 1870s, California citrus growers and Alaska salmon canners realized that the use of distinctive lithographed paper labels helped separate one individual producer from another in the eyes of both wholesalers and consumers.   But Pacific Northwest fruit growers were slow to recognize the value of a colorful label and balked at taking on the extra expense of having labels designed, printed, delivered, stored, and pasted onto boxes.

A few growers did eventually decide to try labeling their crates of fruit, and printing companies, realizing the size of the potential new  market, moved swiftly to encourage and help them.  The use of labels remained optional until October, 1913, when an article in Better Fruit Magazine informed growers and packers that…All Northwestern boxed apples will be labeled on the end of the box..

A brightly colored, attractively designed, eye-catching image on a fruit crate label soon became the foremost tool for attracting  a buyer in the wholesale marketplace.  It became the window through which the quality of the product could be seen without opening the box.  A good label, said a trade journal of the day, would dignify the pack—it must catch the buyer’s attention, bring the product to mind, create a desire to buy, and motivate the sale.  The more vivid and well-known the label image or name, the stronger and more effective its impact on product sales.

Thus, beginning in the early 1900s and continuing for the next fifty years, crate labels were one of the great success stories of 20th century American advertising. 

apple bookThe Ultimate Fruit Label Book
A new publication from the Yakima Valley Museum featuring:
  • The definitive history of fruit box labels written by the museum’s own director, John A. Baule (with lots of assistance from collectors Del Bice, Kelsey Doncaster, and others). The book discusses the history of the Pacific Northwest tree fruit industry, the rise and use of labels in marketing and product branding, and the contemporary phenomenon of fruit label collecting. This information exists in detail now only in the minds and personal papers of collectors.
  • Illustrated with historic photos of the area’s fruit industry as well as over 1,700 high quality color reproductions of labels (many never before published) from the files of both the Yakima Valley Museum and private collectors.
  • Biographies of selected families and businesses important in the early days of the tree fruit industry and instrumental in the production and use of fruit box labels.
  • Hard cover, 308 pages, 81/2 x 11 inches, bound landscape style with handsome protective dust jacket

Buy it now from our Gift Shop




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