Sometimes I wish food packaging still looked like it did before the war, when fruit was delivered in wooden crates decorated with these beautiful and colourful labels. I found them in a collection on the Boston Public Library. Here’s the backstory:

‘Prior to World War II, produce was packed in wooden crates with attractive labels, designed to catch the buyer’s eye, pasted on the ends. After the onset of war, rationing, cost-cutting and a search for cheaper materials in every industry motivated the fruit packers to experiment with cardboard containers.Since wooden crates were more labor intensive and most available manpower was involved with the war effort, cardboard containers eventually prevailed. By the early 1950s, wooden crates had almost disappeared from the packing houses. The transition to cardboard containers left warehouses full of unused labels.’


You can discover more of these amazing designs on the Boston Public Library’s Flickr page.

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