Photo: Loading Oranges


Bob Chaparro
 

Photo: Loading Oranges

A photo from the Hagley Digital Archives:

https://digital.hagley.org/PC20110419_319

Scroll on the photo to enlarge it.

This is a photo of (supposedly) orange crates being loaded into a PFE reefer. What caught my eye were the words “Lay Flat” on the crates. I’ve never seen this on the many orange crate photos I’ve reviewed.

Normally, orange crates are stacked on their ends when placed in a reefer to promote air circulation. Laying them flat tends to damage the oranges. On the other hand, the date of this photo is February 1942, several months into World War II. Prior to the war, 462 packing crates made up a standard reefer load of oranges. During World War II, the Office of Defense Transportation ordered that cars were to be loaded with 693 crates.  This attempt at better car utilization resulted in a lot of damaged fruit. Due to the high amount of damage to loads, the order was revised to reduce the number of crates to 561. The order was completely rescinded in 1947 and the 462 standard re-emerged.

Perhaps the “Lay Flat” instructions were to remind those loading the car that things had changed.

Any thoughts on this?

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

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