History of Collage

Last Updated 10/14/09

by Debbie Hamman

I ran across a book while searching for book titles for my DH and found one that I think all will enjoy since we deal with paper and stamps.

Title: Encyclopedia of Ephemera, By Maurice Rickards, Published 2001

Stickers and Labels

A lot of stamp artists and scrapbookers incorporate stickers, food labels, postage stamps, and other labels in their work. The label has a long history.

The earliest labels date back to the mid 16th century to identify paper and fabric and were printed from wood block or copper plates. Among the objects that contained labels were beer bottles, medicine jars, perfume, sauces and inkbottles.

Canning labels appeared in 1810 for food containers. Most labels were applied by hand with glue. Not until the end of the 19th century were label machines developed and in use.

Fyffes, a famous banana importer, developed the first label for food. Items included melons, bananas, oranges, lemons, apples, and avocadoes. Next time you check the label on the apple, think about the history.

Airline labels started in 1920. By World War II, every major airline had its own label to identify luggage and cargo going on its airline.

The early years of the 19th Century saw the emergence of decorative labels. Designs became less standardized as different companies began to grow. Labels were mostly printed in black and measured 2 1/2 x 2 inches. Sweden, Denmark, and Britain produced most of the decorative labels until 1941.

Stickers that are used by scrapbookers, teachers, stamp artists, and even pen pal writers appeared in 1935 in Los Angeles. Stationary companies like Hallmark and American Greetings developed stickers in mass production with mostly cartoon characters like Snoopy, Bugs Bunny, and Mickey Mouse.

Acid free stickers didn't appear till the late 1980's way after pressure-sensitive stickers, which were being purchased in the 1960's. Now there are laser cut stickers that can be applied to paper surfaces.

This book is fascinating and is a great investment for any collage artist. Written like a dictionary and history book, has some great examples of ephemera through the ages. The best place to get a copy is Buy.com, has it for $40 plus s/p Amazon had it listed for $65.

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