Putting the printing wheels in motion
Incorporated in Eugene, Oregon, in 1923 by L.H. Potter and his four sons, Potter Manufacturing got its start by printing designs onto fabric covers for spare tires in the burgeoning car culture of America in the 1920s – think Model Ts, Roadsters and all that jazz.
Decals defined a new era
Along with the evolution of vehicles, Potter’s printing process evolved and soon the decal was born. The versatility of decals made it possible to transfer designs onto vehicles, windows, storefronts and novelties. Potter-printed decals even adorned the helmets of General Douglas MacArthur’s Honor Guard stationed in Japan during World War II.
Sports was the name of the game
Popular among universities and collegiate sports, Potter’s handcrafted designs were all the rage by the mid-1950s. Even Oregon’s famed Ducks relied on Potter for its hand-designed decals. This post-war era also gave rise to use of adhesive-backed vinyl and the versatile modern-day sticker we know and love today.
When things got really sticky
In the 1960s, people were smitten with bumper stickers that shouted peace, love and flower power, and Potter was happy to be a part of it. Neon-colored bumper stickers were also big in the ’60s.
In 1967, the company was purchased by Bill Emel, who we lovingly refer to as Grandpa around here – he was the first generation of the Emel Family to own and operate Potter. Bill added clear vinyl stickers and die-cutting to the company’s capabilities by the ’80s, followed by removable static cling vinyl. In the late ’80s, Bill’s son, Thomas, became owner.
By the ’90s, Potter had coined the term “vinyl transfers.” Also trendy at the time were waterslide transfers, which went on like temporary tattoos, but were permanent and durable.
Tipping our hat to tradition and innovation
Today, Potter Decal & Sticker Co. remains family-owned and operated in Eugene, Oregon, offering high-quality digital printing, traditional screen printing, die-cutting, in-house design services and direct shipping within the United States. These days, Diana Emel runs the company with the help of a dedicated team that includes long-time employees and her sons, Danny and Dillon – third-generation sticker aficionados.
Thanks for sticking with us!