In 1935, R Stanton Avery produced the world’s first self-adhesive label. He developed a way for labels to be printed on a web press, cut to shape and size, then re-reeled and applied automatically from a roll. Stan Avery pioneered an entire industry.
It was soon apparent that potential applications were almost unlimited. In 1940, he travelled to Costa Rica and showed the United Fruit Company how to put their brand on bananas without damaging the fruit. Developments during the early years were rapid and diverse, including the first non-removable pressure sensitive adhesive in 1951, and even the world’s first highlighter pen in 1962.
Innovation has been continuous. In 1980, the company produced the first clear self-adhesive label, allowing the premium ‘no label’ look that has come to dominate premium brands in beer and beverage. 1986 saw the first label templates for consumers, making it easy for end users to print customised and formatted labels – and home users soon enjoyed business cards, inkjet labels, online design tools and much more.
The growth of Avery Dennison into the global business it is today was rapid. One of the first franchise holders was the British company William Sessions Ltd in 1947. A plant opened in Painesville Ohio in 1953 and the first European plant opened in Leiden, in the Netherlands, in 1955. The firm went public in 1961 and listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1967.
1974 saw the company joining the Fortune 500®*, and this was also the year that our materials were used to create the United States’ first self-adhesive stamp. By 1985, sales had reached $1 billion and there were 9,000 employees and 100 manufacturing facilities and sales offices in 25 countries. A merger with Dennison Manufacturing in 1990 created the new Avery Dennison. Today, Avery Dennison has more than 30,000 employees in 60 countries and $6 billion in sales.
Some of our most recent new ideas are explored in our innovation page. What continues to set Avery Dennison apart is the range of core values that have been part of the company since 1935. In 75 years of business, we have always worked hard to make brands more inspiring, and to make the world a more intelligent place.
*Registered trademark of Time, Inc