Citrus fruit and brass stencils: Sicily in the world

Agrumi siciliani mascherine in ottone

A peculiar professional profile was integral to Sicily’s citrus fruit industry, which we introduced in this past article: metal stamp piercers provided the stencils used by exporters to print their trademarks on the wooden boxes they used to ship their merchandise abroad.

Step by step, the initial pencil drawing was traced on perforated paper, which provided the base for a heliographic print, which was finally used to make the brass die needed to impress name and logo directly on the wood of the crates.

Here is a series of those brass stencils, which obviously were meant to evoke their time’s trends and fashion, and not merely represent the contents of the box… thus adding beauty’s “stamp of approval” to the unsurpassed flavor of Sicily’s delicious lemons.

Photos via: “From Palermo to America. L’iconografia commerciale dei limoni di Sicilia”, Sellerio, Palermo 2007

August 22, 2014