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H. W. Dubois & Co.

California became the nation’s leader in fruit growing in the late nineteenth century. Growers shipped fruit wrapped in tissue (to prevent damage and the spread of mold) back East in wooden boxes.

In the 1880s, they began to use brightly colored lithographed paper labels on the ends of their crates to identify the fruit within and to advertise their businesses.

H. W. Dubois & Co., a printing firm located in Fall River, Massachusetts (active 1866–1892), designed lovely fruit box labels as part of their output. Examples shown here depict fresh strawberries, peas, peaches, pears, whortleberries, and blackberries. Dubois must have created the lithographs on speculation, because at the bottom, its artists left space to overprint the name of a grower or distributor.

Other lithographers along the East Coast participated in printing box labels as well, until production shifted to San Francisco and Los Angeles during the last decades of the century.

 
Details from chromolithographed food labels, c. 1866–1892. (3 7/8 x 5 3/8 in). Printed by H. W. Dubois & Co., Designers, Engravers and Lithographic Printers, Fall River, MA.
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