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The Rise of the Bumper Sticker

What are Bumper Stickers?

Bumper Stickers are high value stickers used for a variety of purposes – from commercial uses of advertising a business or event to asserting your religious views; from providing humour or satire to showing your support for a cause, philosophy, sports team, or political party. Bumper Stickers have been around for donkey’s years, but you may not be aware when they were first used or how they became so sticky and ended up car bumpers.

Bumper Stickers for advertising

How did Bumper Stickers Begin?

According to our sources, the idea of the bumper sticker first appeared in the good-old-days when the only mode of transportation was the horse-drawn carriage. The story goes that businesses advertised their names on canvas wheel covers and horse-fly nets.

Then, in the 1930s after Ford added a bumper as a safety measure to its Model A, the concept of bumper stickers developed. These early ‘30s bumper stickers were more consistent with a flag-like sign printed on a metal or cardboard backing and then secured to the car’s bumper with either wire or string.

Heading into the mid ‘40s many developments in technology were made during World War II that assisted greatly with the war effort, including the wide-spread use of fluorescent inks that glowed during daylight. The rise of these inks combined with the first commercially produced pressure-sensitive tape lead to a silkscreen printer from Kansas, Foster P Gill, to conceptualise, create and commercialise the first ever modern bumper sticker.

Originally, Gill’s Bumper Stickers were used mainly at tourist attractions. However, In 1952 the bumper sticker idea was used in its first US presidential campaign between Dwight D Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson II.

Why we love Bumper Stickers?

Bumper Stickers have gone on to advertise many slogans, ideas, businesses, sports teams, political positions and country tags with each sticker articulating the individuality of whoever sticks one to the bumper of their car.

They are a colourful part of human culture and have even been absorbed into popular culture. In 2004, ‘The Sticker Song’ composed by an Israeli novelist, was written entirely of Israeli bumper sticker slogans or references to slogans. The song appeared on the Israeli hip-hop group, Hadag Nachas’s album, Homer Mekomi.

Other quirky facts about Bumper Stickers:

· The current world record for bumper sticker collecting is held by Bill Heerman of Lincoln Nebraska, U.S.A who has 4,131 bumper stickers.

· The preservation of classic bumper stickers began in 2010 when Whitney Baker, an associate Librarian at the University of Kansas Libraries, started to preserve classic bumper stickers.

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