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Citrus Label History
Fancy Riverside Oranges
In 1885, the first orange box labels were designed and lithographed. The size of the labels, about 10x11 inches, fit perfectly on the end of the standard size California wooden shipping box. One label was pasted on an end of each box. The reason these labels were produced was to identify where the oranges were grown and to provide information about who packed and shipped the oranges. In most cases additional information on the label provided the buyer with the name of the variety of oranges that were in the box and across the top of the label was the trademarked brand name, provided for re-ordering identification.

Fontana Boy label
From the very beginning colorful illustrations relating to the trademark brand name often became the central graphic image featured on the label designs. This addition was clearly decorative and was meant dress up the package and make it look special. Oranges were considered a delicacy at that time and when high quality California oranges were packed and presented professionally they brought premium prices at fruit auctions in Eastern American cities. At first a relatively small number of packers used these labels, but by the mid-1890s there were hundreds of different labels being pasted on the ends of shipping boxes containing California oranges, lemons and grapefruit.

College Heights label
Although label designs evolved and changed through the years, the size of the labels and the tradition of pasting them on one end of each wooden shipping box remained virtually unchanged from 1885 until 1955. During that time it is estimated that more than 10,000 different label designs were developed for California citrus packers. In 1955, the California citrus industry discontinued the use of wooden shipping boxes and paper labels. They were replaced with pre-printed cardboard box containers, which held just about half the number of oranges in each box. This transition marked the end of citrus label production.