Stickers are defined as being a piece of paper or other material of which one side has a substance meant to help it cling to a surface. Wow, that is a pretty confusing definition of a pretty simply concept. The sticker, may have been discovered by ancient Egyptians who were trying to advertise the daily market specials, or it may have been a Department of Defense contractor who was hired to find a way to label the dangerous from the not-so-dangerous. It is really hard to tell which, if either of these explanations, is correct. So let’s consider the third option. Apparently, European advertising gurus came up with the idea to help consumers identify products by their colorful paper labels somewhere in the early 1880s. The colorful paper labels were affixed with a gum paste. The main products that utilized this concept (at least at first) was fruit. There was a huge amount of competition among orchards so the stickers (also known as lithography) were used by the owners to bring attention to their fruit. The labels would be stuck to the side of the cedar crates that were full of fruit and ready to sell. The concept was also used widely on vegetables cans and on cigar boxes.
Stickers evolved a bit to pre-apply the paste to the back of the stickers and let them dry. Then, by applying water or saliva to the sticker surface, the past would activate and the sticker could be placed on a surface. These types of stickers were very popular as travel and luggage stickers and are considered to be collectors items today.
From the pre-pasted, the concept of stickers evolved when R. Stanton Avery manufactured the first self-adhesive labels. The label/sticker that Avery designed had a paper surface with a coat of adhesive which was then stuck on a liner. The liner had a special silicone coating that enabled the label to be removed and stuck to other surfaces. Stickers today still use the basic premise of the self-adhesive label that Avery invented. For over 50 years stickers have became a huge marketing item for every sort of household product imaginable. In addition, bumper stickers have also become part of the popular culture fads and icons as they have been used for political and social commentary.