Guide to the Collection on the Crescent Manufacturing Company

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Overview of the Collection

Title: Collection on the Crescent Manufacturing Company
Dates: 1909-1962 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 2 boxes including 81 photographs (1.07 cubic feet)
Location of Collection: 3a.3.10 (Box 1)
1a.4.16 ; (Box 2 - oversize)
VI.a.20 (oversize)
Collection Number: 2005.24
Summary: Photographs and other materials related to the Crescent Manufacturing Company in Seattle, known for producing the maple flavoring Mapleine and other extracts, as well as importing spices, coffee and nuts
Repository: Museum of History & Industry, Sophie Frye Bass Library
Contact Information: Sophie Frye Bass Library
Museum of History & Industry
P.O. Box 80816
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-324-1126
Fax: 206-780-1533
Languages: Collection materials are in English. 

Historical Note

The Crescent Manufacturing Company was established in Seattle in 1883 by Albert C. Larsen, as Larsen Extract Company. In 1886, the company was sold and re-named the Crescent Manufacturing Company. Shortly before the Alaskan Gold Rush, the company was sold to J. W. and W. J Kahle. The company’s original location was at 122 S. Jackson, then 315 Occidental Ave, and later moved to Sixth Avenue and Pike Street.

Crescent was most famous for their Mapleine imitation maple flavoring, the first on the market to not change flavor through time and temperature fluctuations. Mapleine was premiered at the Puyallup Fair in 1908. In addition to Mapleine and 75 other imitation extracts, Crescent imported and milled spices, coffee, and nuts. In 1926, the company moved to a plant at Railroad Ave South and South Connecticut Street (later Alaskan Way South and Royal Brougham Way). The Crescent factory of 1927 boasted the most modern communication technology, as well as a variety of spice mills and coffee-roasting equipment.

During the Depression, Crescent was able to retain all employees by implementing across-the-board pay cuts, from owners to employees. During World War II, spices sourced from Asia were unavailable, so Crescent worked to create and market imitation spices. After the war, competitors used Crescent’s imitation spices as a slur against them, but Crescent chose to use them as a marketing tool. In 1957, Crescent debuted the Gold Shield coffee line, but faced stiff competition from major brands. Eventually, they decided to sell Gold Shield to another company. At this time, Crescent also re-packaged their nuts, selling them in cup measurements instead of by “nines” price points. This innovation led them to become leaders in pre-packaged nuts for cooking.

In 1971, Crescent had outgrown its plant at Maynard and Dearborn, and the offices moved to the Hanford Center to give the plant room to expand. In 1989, Crescent was sold to McCormick and Company, and in 1990, Crescent consolidated its factory, laboratory, and offices into one building in Kent, Washington. Mapleine is still produced in limited quantities.

Content Description

The collection includes an album of photographs of the factory, with accompanying typed descriptions; loose photographs of the Crescent factory, employees and product exhibits; trademark certificates, histories of the company and ephemera. The photo album is embossed on the front “Property of Crescent Manufacturing Co.”. The album contains 22 photographs of the interior workings of the “daylight” (makes use of natural light through large windows on each floor) factory at Railroad South and South Connecticut (now Alaskan Way South and South Royal Brougham), each accompanied by typewritten notes on facing page with handwritten corrections and notations.

Use of the Collection

Alternative Forms Available :  

View selections from the collection in digital format here or by clicking on the camera icons in the inventory below.

Restrictions on Access :  

The collection is open to the public by appointment.

Restrictions on Use :  

The Museum of History & Industry is the owner of the materials in the Sophie Frye Bass Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from MOHAI before any reproduction use. The museum does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation :  

Collection on the Crescent Manufacturing Company Plant, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information :  

Source: Michael Maslan; received March 31, 2005 and December 18, 2009.

Processing Note :  

Processed by Jessica Warner, 2010.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Factory promotional album, circa 1923
1 1: Crescent Manufacturing Company factory exterior (105574)
Caption on page: RR So & Connecticut (note: now Alaskan Way S. and S. Royal Brougham Way.)
circa 1923
1 2: Birds-eye view of office (110728)
Photograph depicts “all the modern equipment, such as dictograph, pneumatic tube systems, private exchange switchboard, dictaphones, and other like devices."
circa 1923
1 3: Factory shipping office,including pneumatic tube system (110733) circa 1923
1 4: Vats and workers in the Mapleine manufacturing process (110711) circa 1923
1 5: Worker and machine in the Mapleine process (110715)
Caption on facing page: “Here the packages of family size are filled, labeled, cartoned, and packed."
circa 1923
1 6: Female worker in the extract department (110717)
Caption: “more than 75 different flavors are produced, as well as colors and many specialties for confectioners, bakers, and ice cream manufacturers."
circa 1923
1 7: Factory coffee-roasting department (110731) circa 1923
1 8: Coffee-roasting equipment and worker (110723) circa 1923
1 9: Baking powder manufacturing department and workers (110719) circa 1923
1 10: Baking powder labeling and sealing department with female workers (110720) circa 1923
1 11: Spice mill being operated by worker (110730) circa 1923
1 12: Worker operating a spice cleaning apparatus (110724) circa 1923
1 13: Women workers in the spice packing department (110716) circa 1923
1 14: Women workers in the bluing and ammonia department (110729) circa 1923
1 15: Factory printing department (110721)
Caption explains “more than 50,000,000 pieces of printed matter are turned out by the twelve people employed in this department."
circa 1923
1 16: Woman worker operating the carton stapling machine (110735) circa 1923
1 17: Ladies’ rest room, and two ladies reading (110732) circa 1923
1 18: Factory cafeteria (110722)
Caption notes that “more than 250 meals are served here each day."
circa 1923
1 19: Worker stacking cases of Mapleine for shipment circa 1923
1 20: Crescent delivery truck at rail yards (109786) circa 1923
1 21: Some of the Crescent delivery truck fleet (110734) circa 1923
1 1: Crescent Manufacturing Company factory (105574)
Caption describes the factory’s cleanliness and order, the two cardinal principles for the factory operators. Women are described as wearing “fresh white aprons and caps", while men wear “clean khaki overalls".
circa 1923

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:  Loose photographs, 
1 22: Exterior of building circa 1894-1900
1 23: Exterior, Occidental and Jackson
Caption: “decorated for a celebration"
1 24: Exterior, Alaskan Way and Connecticut St.
Caption: “Sales meeting"
1 25: Exterior, Dearborn circa 1965
1 26: Laboratory and workers 1925
1 27: Packaging coffee circa 1920
1 28: Coffee roaster
Caption: “Made by A. A. Coleman"
1 29: Coffee roaster
Caption: “Made by A. A. Coleman"
1 30: Employees at assembly line
On verso: “Feb. 17, 1972"
1 31: Employees circa 1900-1922
1 32: Employees 1912
1 33: Employee picnic
Caption: “Kohle summer home- Seahurst 1916."
1 34: Annual dinner, December 26, 1917, at Butler Hotel 1917
1 35: Employees undated
1 36: Crescent bowling team
Caption: “The Mapleines, commercial bowling league champions."
1 37: Sales meeting 1928
1 38: Crescent wagon undated
1 39: Boxcar containing peanuts undated
1 40: Crescent truck in Seattle Armistice parade 1918
1 41: Boxcar of Mapleine
Caption: “1st carload shipment of Mapleine."
1 42: Crescent trucks and Rainier plane 1946
1 43: Pepper being unloaded from plane to Crescent truck
Text on verso describes Crescent’s efforts to import pepper during pepper shortage.
1 44: Mapleine exhibit
On verso: “Eatons, Toronto March 1911"
1 45: Mapleine exhibit
Caption: “ Waco Texas 1920"
1 46: Mapleine exhibit
Caption: “Dallas Texas 1920"
1 47: Mapleine exhibit with employees
Caption: “Dallas Texas 1920"
1 48: Mapleine exhibit with employees
On verso: “Ottawa, Ont. 1923 Sept."
1 49: Mapleine exhibit with employees undated
1 50: Mapleine exhibit undated
1 51: Mapleine exhibit undated
1 52: Mapleine window display
On verso: “Anderson’s Grocery 8th and Pike"
1 53: Mapleine window display at Shaw’s Cut Rate Pharmacy undated
1 54: Mapleine exhibit undated
1 55: Mapleine exhibit with employees undated
1 56: Mapleine store display circa 1955
2 57: Mapleine exhibit with two employees 1911
2 58: Mapleine exhibit
Caption: “Fair, San Francisco, 1914"
1 59: Crescent Cream Coffee display
On verso: “Salem Fair, Dec. 1918"
1 60: Coffee display with employees undated
1 61: Coffee display in-store undated
1 62: Coffee display in-store
On verso: “Miss Fredricks at Turnley’s North Side Market, Spokane at the Cup"
1 63: Coffee window display
Caption: “April 11 to 18 –25- Tacoma News Tribune"
1 64: Coffee window display
On verso: “Yakima Republic and Herald Oct. 2 – 1926"
1 65: Coffee exhibit 1909
1 66: Coffee exhibit
Caption: “Toppenish Wash Mar 29-April 1922"
1 67: Coffee exhibit
Caption: “Bellingham exhibit March 8-11-1922"
1 68: Coffee exhibit
Caption: “Chehalis Feb 1-4-1922"
1 69: Crescent coffee on the Takau glacier, Alaska undated
1 70: Crescent baking powder exhibit with employees undated
1 71: Baking powder exhibit, Oregon. undated
1 72: Baking powder window display undated
1 73: “Queen of the Crescent Tribe" advertisement undated
1 74: Baking powder painted wall advertisement undated
1 75: Baking powder exhibit
Caption: “Centralia June 14-18 1920"
1 76: Exhibits at convention
On verso: “Doug and ??? convention Oct 1929"
1 77: Exhibits at convention undated
1 78-79: In-store nut displays undated
1 80: Farm and field undated
2 81: Coffee sorting operation, Padang, Indonesia undated

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1 82-90: Trademarks registered to Crescent 1905-1947
VI.a.20 91: Chinese trademark undated
1 92-94: Print advertisements for Crescent undated
1 95-98: Seattle Times article about Crescent, Sept. 22, 1963 1963
1 99: History of Crescent, 1962 1962
1 100: Promotional history of Crescent, 1972 1972
1 101: Crescent envelope undated

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This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Corporate Names :
  • Crescent Manufacturing Company (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Geographical Names :
  • United States--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Subject Terms :
  • Coffee industry--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Factories--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Food industry--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Spice trade--Washington (State)--Seattle
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Photographs

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