In the fruit industry all lifting was done by human power. The fruit was picked into small, so called “orchard boxes”, when full, they weighed about 30 lbs. There were millions of these boxes. Their design was such, that when empty, three of them made a nice smooth package, this is how they were delivered to the orchards. After they got filled with fruit, the grower collected and delivered them to a designated area of the orchard. Many growers built wooden or cement platforms at truck deck heights, this is where he stacked up the boxes six box high.
The Oliver Co-Op had their own trucking fleet, provided their services to the growers that shipped to them, other growers who shipped to other plants, used commercial truckers like Caughlin Trucking or Barisoff’s Trucking.
When the driver pulled beside these platforms, he put his gangplank, which was a 2’ x 5’ either aluminum or steel plate, this served as a smooth connector between the truck deck and the platform. Now he could use his “hand truck” to load the boxes six at a time on the truck. This sounds easy, but took a lot of practice to learn how to balance it, so he didn’t have to carry the weight of all the boxes. It was a much faster way to load than without platforms, where they handed the boxes up one by one.
A truck load was usually 384 boxes. The driver took these to the packing plants where they were unloaded and put into cold storages. At the Co-Op, there was a scale built into the receiving platform. From the truck the boxes were hand trucked on this scale, weighed, ticketed and hand trucked into the storages, where to save place
they were stacked 8 or sometimes 10 boxes high. It involved a lot of lifting. Work hours were 9 hours per day, 6 days a week, the hourly rate was 90 cents- 1.10.