Trademarks: The Colorful History of Oregon Business

Gum label

In 1864, Oregon's Legislative Assembly adopted a trademark law. Its intent was to protect particular name brands from use by competitors. Name brand users were required to file their trademarks with the Secretary of State. Letters of application sent to the Secretary of State were accompanied by the label of the product as proof of the trademark. The trademarks offer an vivid, graphic insight into Oregon's commercial history. The trademark labels in this exhibit illustrate a sample filed between 1864 and 1900. Trademarks encompassed a wide variety of business names and products including patent medicines, clothing, mill products, canned fruit, liquor, ice cream, and salmon. Canned salmon trademarks were among the most frequently-registered products during the first forty years of the trademark law. Twenty-nine Columbia River canneries were operating in 1889 and competition was fierce. The salmon can labels shown in this exhibit offer only a small example of the large and colorful collection held by the State Archives.

Fruit trademarks

Salmon trademarks

Other food trademarks

More food trademarks

Non-food trademarks

Information about the images

Additional resource

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