A Brief History of Bumper Stickers
Over the years, people have used bumper stickers for everything from advertising tourist attractions to political campaigning. Even now, when many luxury cars don’t even have bumpers anymore, the bumper sticker continues as souvenir, school fundraiser, or method of personal expression.
The first real use of the bumper sticker in a political campaign occurs in the 1952 Eisenhower -vs- Stevenson election
Ike campaign once again uses bumper stickers, and so does every presidential campaign since
The European countries require oval bumper stickers, using 1, 2, or 3 letter codes to identify country or origin.
Baker v. Glover in Alabama and Cunningham v. State in Georgia (see image) ruled that free speech applies to bumper stickers – although the debate continues.
Phased out in Europe, oval Euro-style bumper stickers are increasingly used for tourist destinations, eateries, and other promotional use in the US
- In pre-car days, advertisers would print their ads on horsefly nets.
- The original bumper stickers were made from paper and were easily damaged. The adhesive was gummy and hard to remove.
- These days, removable or magnetic vinyl makes these stickers that are easy to remove without damage. You may be able to remove others with a razor blade (for those with steady hands), heat (hair dryer or heat gun), or penetrating oil. The many rumored uses of WD-40 include the removal of truly stuck stickers.
- Bumper stickers are collectable, but not high value ($10-$15 for rare ones)
- The Guinness Book of World Records lists the largest individual collection of bumper stickers at 4,131 by Bill Heermann of Lincoln, NE. He started his collection in 1984.
- If you decide to collect them, keep your vinyl stickers separate from others (they’ll stick, even with liners in place), flat, and away from paper or silver-based photographs. Vinyl can emit gasses that may damage these.