16 Feb The Bumper Sticker Story: Part II
Today, we usually associate the bumpers on a car with safety (or as an excellent location to place the beautiful decals you create with a little bit of help from the gang at Create Decal!). The very first bumpers, however, were designed only for cosmetic purposes (and when you think about it, that really does make them an ideal place to put custom-made decals!).
Believe it or not, Wikipedia has a rather long entry on car bumpers. They credit George Albert Lyon as the inventor of the earliest car bumper, which they say was installed in 1897 on a vehicle made by the Czech automakers Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriks-Gesellschaft. “The first bumper designed to absorb impacts appeared in 1901,” Wikipedia reports. “It was made of rubber and Frederick Simms gained patent for this invention in 1905.”
A Bumper in Need of a Sticker
According to the folks at Esurance, “When the Ford Model A was introduced in 1927, it featured prominent front and rear bumpers. Car owners immediately thought, ‘I must use this surface to express my opinions and preferences!’ And lo, the bumper as pontification space was born.”
Today, slapping a bumper sticker or custom-made decal (from Create Decal, of course!) on your rear bumper is a simple thing that only takes a few seconds. But in the early days, you had to really want the world to know what you were for or against. As Esurance explains on its blog, “At first, bumper signs were made of metal or cardboard and attached to the bumper with wire.”
Fortunately for us (and by us, we mean all of you who love a good bumper sticker as well as those of us who can help you create a decal or sticker that people will be proud to place on their bumpers), the story doesn’t end there.
“The bumper sticker as we know it was invented in 1946 by a Kansas City screen printer named Forest P. Gill,” Esurance says. “After World War II, he found himself with a surplus of adhesive-backed paper and fluorescent paint so he decided to combine them. No one knows for sure what the first bumper sticker said (our guess: “I’d Rather Be Squeegeeing”). But the stickers soon became popular as mementos of fairs and other events.”
Both bumpers and bumper stickers have continued to evolve since then, but one thing hasn’t changed – bumper stickers are still very popular!