Currently on display in the 4th Floor Research Room at the California State Archive is “Signs of the Times: California Businesses and Trademark Art,” an exhibit celebrating the 150th anniversary of California’s Trademark Registration Act (Chapter 129, Statutes of 1863).
The exhibit focuses on late 19th and early 20th century trademarks and features colorful fruit crate labels, clever cigar box labels and other trademarks depicting California state symbols such as grizzly bears, gold miners, and the Great Seal. Other items on exhibit include patent medicine labels and trademarks used by famous beverage and sweets companies.
California began registering certain container brands in 1861, but trademark registration for all types of products began in 1863 — seven years prior to federal legislation. California was the first state in the Union to allow trademark registration and today California businesses still register their trademarks with the Secretary of State.
Top Left to Bottom Left: Eagle and Two Bears, San Jose Fruit Packing Co. (1881); Capitol Brand Cantaloupes (1916); (1875, La Rosa Aroma cigars (1911); Dr. Lepper’s Electric Oil of Gladness (1875) and Standard Brand Washing Powder, a trial exhibit from Falkinburg v. Lucy (1868), Supreme Court of California Records.