This California Citrus Brand List is an attempt to compile, in one list, all known California citrus brand names from the very earliest brands of the 1870s and 80s right up to the brands being packed and shipped today. This was done as a learning aid for researchers, collectors, students and those just curious about our citrus heritage.
The list was compiled using numerous brand lists compiled by Sunkist Growers, Inc. and Mutual Orange Distributors for use by their grower members. Early brands were taken from a brand register published by the Fruit World magazine in December 1900. A lot of new brands were found in the Eastern Citrus Market Reports published daily in the Los Angeles Times between January 1905 and December 1941. Newer brands, used after the use of paper labels was discontinued in the 1950s, were, in large part, obtained using the internet.
Actual labels were studied using the online Citrus Label Gallery plus label collections in the Pomona Public Library, the Riverside Public Library, the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, the A.K. Smiley Library in Redlands, the Corona Public Library, the Huntington Library in San Marino, the California State Archives in Sacramento, the University of California at Davis Library, the California Historical Society in San Francisco plus numerous other local libraries and historical museums. Label collector, dealer and author Gordon McClelland was also helpful with his advise and generous in sharing some of his own label lists and allowing access to some of the rare labels in his collection.
Since a large number of the brand names and types of fruit packed are taken from brand lists rather than actual labels, some errors are to be expected. The brand lists showed what brands were authorized for certain types of fruit. Not all of the brands authorized by the marketing organizations were actually used by the packers. Also, since a large percentage of the labels on the brand list were not available to be viewed, a lot of guesswork had to be used as to the correct spelling of the packer name and address. For example, on the early labels, did the packer show the city where the fruit was packed or did they show the origin as California?
Included on both versions of the list are 587 brand names where the name of the packing organization is unknown. These were taken either from the Fruit World brand list of 1900 or from various daily Eastern Citrus Market Reports. The dates of these unknown origin brands, shown in the Selling Agents column, are the earliest dates of reported usage. If any collector using these lists has one or more of the unknown brands in their collection, Citrus Roots would appreciate your sharing information about the label with us, either by sending us a scan of the label or just giving us the name of the packer and the city shown on the label plus any logos or other information shown on the label. Please email any scans or updated information to: firstname.lastname@example.org attn: Dick Barker.
Also, collectors, if you spot any errors we have made on the list or, most importantly, if you have any California citrus labels that we do not show on our list, please notify us with corrections or new label information so we can correct or update our list.
To make our list easier to use we have posted it as a database and you may sort it by any of the headings simply by clicking on it. Note to collectors – in order to keep the list as short as possible different versions of the same label may not be shown. Under fruit type (O, L, G) would indicate that the brand was used to pack oranges, lemons and grapefruit. The labels used to pack each type of fruit would have different graphics. Also under grade if SK, RB, PG or SS is shown with another grade that indicates that at least two versions of the label exist. One version showing the Sunkist, Red Ball, Pure Gold or Silver Seal logo and the second version without the Sunkist or other logos. If multiple grades of FY, CH, OR or STD are shown that would indicate the same label was used at different times to ship different grades of fruit.