Canned Lobster Crate

Rare antique wooden advertising box for Maine lobster, c. 1880s. At the time this crate was packed with lobster, the present day delicacy was still being served to cats. Since the first settlements in North America, colonists considered lobster a garbage food, fit only for the poor and fed to indentured servants and prisoners. For those in coastal New England, a diet of lobster remained an embarrassing sign of poverty even by the late 19th century. At this time, a number of canneries along the Maine coast packed lobster, which was so plentiful that three or even five pound lobsters were considered too small. This crate of canned lobster packed in Portland, Maine likely was headed inland to the plates of landlubbers who had never heard of the things. Figuring out that lobster could be acquired on the cheap, railways served lobster as an exotic menu item in their dining cars to oblivious midwesterners, who took a liking to the taste and eventually elevated the lobster to a fine food. Through these wooden boxes of lobster, the taste for the crustaceans spread around the country, eventually transforming the lowly lobster into a rare and expensive delicacy.

The wooden crate has a fantastic color label with inventive typography. It is well traveled, but sturdy and useful for storage. A rare survivor.



14.75 inches wide

19 inches long

9.5 inches deep



Antique patina from heavy use with scratches and wear to label.



Free in the continental United States. If an international buyer, please contact me for a shipping estimate by clicking here.



In stock