Sunday, October 30, 2022

Produce box labels, Part 2

 In the preceding post on this topic, I gave some background on produce shipping boxes and showed some examples of the box labels I have modified to create HO scale labels for shipping boxes visible at packing houses on my layout. (The post can be found here: .)

I had enjoyed modifying these labels, and reducing them to HO scale, as shown in several posts, including the previous one (linked in the paragraph above). Other examples of my modifications may be found in the following posts:

To show just one more example, I chose a box label that was simple enough in design that it would withstand shrinking to HO scale and still at least suggest the original. It happens to be a distributor label, one that could be used as a brand by any of the packing houses working with that distributor.

I simply removed the distributor information at the lower right corner of the label, and replaced it with the identity of my fruit company.

There exist numerous other labels from the locale of my layout, any of which would have been easy to transform into one used by a layout packing house. For example, this one from the prototype Phelan & Taylor Produce Company (located in Oceano in the real world, but on my layout in the town of Shumala):

Incidentally, if you would like to own some original crate labels, there are a number of sellers on line. For a single example, a company selling orange-crate labels, visit: .

Some of the labels I’ve made, like those shown in the five posts linked near the top of this post, are on the layout, attached to stacks of shipping boxes at some of the packing houses. But the HO versions are tiny, not close to readable, and so some of the work I enjoyed doing is invisible. An example is below, with the “Bikini” brand boxes at Phelan & Taylor in East Shumala.

I decided to make a graphic display of my modified labels for the layout room, so that visitors could see a selection of these labels.

I chose the best two labels for each packing house, which in effect represent different brand names, exactly as prototype packing houses did. Then all the images were collected into a display format. They are not all exactly the same size or shape, but these differences reflect the original label shapes. (You can click on the image to enlarge it if you wish.)

The styles of these labels vary widely, from the 1950s-looking “Bikini” and “Starlet” brands, to the 1930s style of “Big Western” and “Pacoast” (actually a label from a Los Angeles distributor, not a packer, and used as a secondary brand by numerous packing houses), to the perhaps 1920s look of the two lemon labels. But it’s known that some packing houses continued to use older labels for years, probably the labels the owner liked.

I then got this image printed out on a high-resolution color printer, at a size that would lend itself to display in the layout room. It’s on a door at the Ballard side of the layout.

I have enjoyed researching and learning about box labels, and also had fun modifying them for my layout packing houses and making up stacks of shipping boxes. But now the layout-room display allows visitors to see clearly what was done.

Tony Thompson

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