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
Sophie Frye Bass Library Museum of History & Industry P.O. Box 80816 Seattle, WA 98108 Telephone: 206-324-1126 Fax: 206-780-1533 firstname.lastname@example.org
are in English.
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.
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
Acquisition Information :
Source: Michael Maslan; received March 31, 2005 and December 18,
Processing Note :
Processed by Jessica Warner, 2010.
Detailed Description of the Collection
The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in
1: Crescent Manufacturing Company
factory exterior (105574)
Caption on page: RR So & Connecticut (note: now Alaskan Way
S. and S. Royal Brougham Way.)
2: Birds-eye view of office
Photograph depicts “all the modern equipment, such as
dictograph, pneumatic tube systems, private exchange switchboard, dictaphones,
and other like devices."
3: Factory shipping office,including
pneumatic tube system (110733)
4: Vats and workers in the Mapleine
manufacturing process (110711)
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."
6: Female worker in the extract
Caption: “more than 75 different flavors are produced, as well
as colors and many specialties for confectioners, bakers, and ice cream
7: Factory coffee-roasting
8: Coffee-roasting equipment and
9: Baking powder manufacturing
department and workers (110719)
10: Baking powder labeling and
sealing department with female workers (110720)
11: Spice mill being operated by
12: Worker operating a spice cleaning
13: Women workers in the spice
packing department (110716)
14: Women workers in the bluing and
ammonia department (110729)
15: Factory printing department
Caption explains “more than 50,000,000 pieces of printed matter
are turned out by the twelve people employed in this department."
16: Woman worker operating the carton
stapling machine (110735)
17: Ladies’ rest room, and two ladies
18: Factory cafeteria (110722)
Caption notes that “more than 250 meals are served here each
19: Worker stacking cases of Mapleine
20: Crescent delivery truck at rail
21: Some of the Crescent delivery
truck fleet (110734)
1: Crescent Manufacturing Company
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".