State-of-the-art food packaging in the early 1900s

August 31, 2021

This 1920s photograph from Waller Studios in western Sussex County’s Laurel shows workers at the Marvil Packaging Company making the wooden and stapled baskets used to ship produce to mid-Atlantic cities from all over Delmarva Peninsula.  The following information found on the Delaware Museum Association’s website is extracted from an article provided by Laurel Historical Society.

“A hundred years ago, the Marvil Packaging Company was producing as many as 35,000 baskets and other containers every single day. It took a worker in the company’s Laurel, Delaware factory only half a minute to make a strawberry basket and two minutes to make a peach basket. This production enabled farmers to ship produce (including Delaware’s most prominent crop of the day) by railroad to distant markets, transforming American agriculture, commerce, and eating. Today, our produce arrives at the market in crates and bins and covered in plastic wrap. In 1900, it more than likely arrived in a Marvil basket.”

  • Delaware Cape Region History in Photographs, published every Tuesday in the Cape Gazette, features historical photos from Delaware's Cape Region - particularly - and from throughout Sussex County and Delaware generally.

    Readers are invited to submit photos of historic interest. They can be mailed to the Cape Gazette at PO Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958, or via email to

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