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BUMPER STICKERS Whether
it’s a stick figure family, a stick figure
family being eaten by a Tyrannosaurus
rex, “My child is an honor roll student”
or “My miniature schnauzer is smarter
than your honor roll student,” people
love getting cheeky with their bumper
stickers. But what are
the origins of these
Many credit Forest P. Gill, a silkscreen
printer in Kansas City, Kansas, as the
creator — it was he who realized the
advertising potential of self-adhesive
paper. Before stickers on car bumpers
was the norm, advertisers put business names on signs, wheel covers and
horsefly nets. When bumper stickers
caught on, early versions promoted
tourist attractions like Marine Gardens
in Florida, Meramec Caverns in Missouri and Rock City Gardens in Tennessee. In the 1940s and 1950s, visitors to
Rock City wound up with a “See Rock
City” bumper sticker, thanks to staffers
who roamed the parking lot and applied one to every car. The first known
presidential campaign sticker appeared
in 1952’s race between Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. No matter
what message drivers are sending, one
commonality seems prevalent: road
rage. Colorado State University social
psychologist William Szlemko found a
link between aggressive driving and the
number of stickers on the person’s car,
regardless of the messages displayed.