The origin of crate labels dates back to the 1880s. The labels served two purposes, identifying the product in the crate and identifying the packing house. The labels were pasted on the end of each fruit crate. To attract more business, the packers used bright colors and vivid artwork. Through the years, the designs were often changed to appear ‘in style’. New images were being used every day.
About 1925, Frank Erskine, manager of the Fillmore Citrus Association was in need of new brand names. The obvious solution was to ask his workers. Erskine went into the packinghouse and asked his employees for their ideas. The majority of packinghouse workers were Mexican and label ideas were shouted out to him in Spanish as he walked through. One suggestion that seemed to be popular with the workers was “Bueno,” the Spanish word for “good,” a simple yet effective word that would describe their lemons. To Frank Erskine whose knowledge of the Spanish language was not the greatest, it sounded more like “Wayno” and so out of that misinterpretation, a new brand name was born.
By the mid-1950s, packers discovered the pre-printed cardboard box. The sudden end of the traditional wooden crate caused large quantities of unused labels. These unused labels were often thrown away or burned. The labels that exist today were saved by collectors or former packing house employees. If you look hard enough, you might be able to find one of these Wayno labels!
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