by Richard McKinstry
One of the first labels used in association with a domestic product
was the linen label. Produced beginning in the 1840s, they represent
some of the finest American embossing and printing in gold and silver
of the period. Other labels that got an early start in the United
States were affixed to liquor bottles. Before labels were used,
liquor bottles had been distinctively shaped to identify their contents:
gin came in square bottles and brandy bottles were round, for example.
Manufacturers began to use labels when they realized that they could
identify their products better by using them. In addition, they
came up with informative and colorful labels for advertising reasons.
Canning labels, orange crate labels, and cigar labels, among others,
are also highly prized by today's collectors.