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September 7, 2023

Wonder of the Day: Who Invented Stickers?

who invented stickers

People around the world use stickers as a way of marking their territories, sharing their interests and expressing themselves. You may see a sticker at the top of a homework assignment as a mark of accomplishment or stuck onto packages to tell postal services where to deliver mail; or perhaps they appear on your phone or computer as an indicator that they remain connected; some are even used as street art - WONDER of the DAY delves deeper into its origin and history to understand its place within our daily lives.

Different schools of thought dispute who exactly invented stickers, though it seems likely they arose as part of commercial marketing strategies. Evidence of early stickers dates all the way back to ancient Egypt with archaeological excavations uncovering pieces of papyrus with prices written on it that was then stuck onto surfaces using glue or plaster.

By the mid 1700s, businesses in European cities found themselves hoarse from shouting to attract customer's attention. To solve this problem, simple paper labels with bright colors or designs were attached to fruit, cigars and other merchandise in order to attract attention - however these flimsy paper labels often fell off over time due to weather exposure; consequently some companies attempted to strengthen them further with shellac or wax coating, which often did not work very effectively.

In the 1940s, printer Forrest Gill combined two wartime technologies into an innovative form of sticker: adhesive-backed paper and fluorescent paint. He used this combination to replace bumper signs affixed with bits of twine to cars as opinionated bumper signs; thus starting a trend. Stickers quickly gained in popularity.

Sticker base materials now span from paper, foil, plastic and vinyl; their adhesives have become increasingly versatile and durable; there are even stickers that glow in the dark! Today there are stickers designed to glow in the dark; peel-and-reapply capabilities; perforations capabilities or even scent-good versions available! Stickers have become an integral component of street art culture as an invaluable way of advertising TV shows, musicians, movies or toys!

Sticker usage has soared thanks to political advertisements during presidential campaigns. For example, many "I Like Ike" stickers seen during 1952 campaign of Adlai Stevenson against Dwight Eisenhower were printed specifically in his favor.

What do you think? Have you been the subject of an attempt at sticker vandalism? Share your views in the comments section.

Why are there so many types of stickers? What are some of the most widely-used types?

What factors should be taken into account when purchasing stickers for marketing purposes?