Wooden Advertising Crates
Wooden crates were used for everything from fruits and vegetables to carting milk bottles. In the 1880s it was discovered that these same crates could also be used as advertising for whatever product they contained and so crate labels were designed as a way to draw attention to produce boxes and make them stand out at public markets. In the 1950s pre-printed cardboard boxes replaced wooden crates so the discarded items became collector’s items.
During the late 1800s, the rail network was able to ship from one coast to the other. Advertising on crates helped to identify a box’s contents, company name and source location and thus, creating free advertising for the manufacturer. This was an early form of company branding and advertising complete with clever slogans and logos.
The first half of the 20th century brought crates to a different function. Most markets displayed produce in the same wooden crates they were delivered in so they became prominent and colorful as a way for growers to promote themselves and separate themselves from competitors.
Wooden advertising crates are sought after collectibles because they not only show marketing efforts from old companies, but they are conversation pieces and are still functional today for storage and display purposes.