It's Prime Time to Eat a Newtown Pippin!
Or perhaps a Stayman, but hopefully you've already polished off your stash of Spitzenburgs.
The Prime Time calendar label would fit right in with today's consumer interest in seasonal eating. Below: The Thomas Fruit and Storage Company warehouse served as the family home as well as packing house and cold storage facility.
The Prime-Time label is exactly what an apple box label is meant to be—a miniature billboard that will sell the apples contained in the box to which the label is affixed, and the entire story or rationale explaining why one should buy this fruit is on the label. The calendar-type clock illustrated on Prime-Time clearly states the best time to eat each variety of apple, as this label was used during the time that the term "cold storage" meant exactly that; not refrigerated storage or today's common controlled atmospheric storage. Apples picked in the fall and then stored in simple cold storage rarely could be kept much beyond March of the next year.
Cold storage warehouses featured extremely thick walls (over six inches) usually filled with sawdust for insulation. Trap doors were opened each night to trap cold air and closed early the next morning to retain the cool temperature throughout the day.
Prime-Time was designed by Charles A. Thomas in approximately 1928 and used until the company went out of business in 1936. Thomas purchased the warehouse pictured here in 1922 through a receivership process for the then-bankrupt Spokane Fruit Company. It was located between Prosser and Grandview, Washington, along the southern side of the Northern Pacific Railroad tracks in an area known locally as Apricot Siding. The warehouse was 300 hundred feet long with the back half being two stories. The first floor of this two-story section was devoted to cold storage, and the upper level housed the packing line. The front one-story section was very nice living quarters for the Thomas family. After the warehouse closed in 1936 and Mr. Thomas passed away in 1940, the warehouse was sold and partially dismantled with the salvaged lumber then being used to build a house in Prosser for Mrs. Thomas. Parts of the remaining section of the building are still standing.
Prime-Time was the only label ever used by the Thomas Fruit and Storage Company, and only about 15 copies are known to still exist.