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Homage to Catalonia

May 20, 2008

Homage to Catalonia
Less well reported is another 50th anniversary, this time in Spain. Back in 1958 Caposa Company, in one of the barrios of old Barcelona, produced Spain’s very first pressure sensitive label, using the invention made famous by Stanton Avery 20 years earlier. Caposa’s founder, who rejoiced in the good old Catalan name of Josep Maria Puigbò Soler, noticed this new idea when visiting a trade show in Germany, and after his death his son took up this product in the family firm, converting the company’s existing machinery to make PS labelstock.
In those early days there was no locally produced labelstock, and import licences, foreign exchange, and even distance telephone calls were all hard to come by. It is said that the pioneers among Spanish label converters used to fill up the trunks of their cars with Catalan ham and other local delicacies, then drive to Perpignan, just over the border in France, to barter for a few rolls of pressure sensitive material. The drive home was via the mountain roads, hoping not to meet the Guardia Civil on the way.
Today with the euro, email and the free movement of goods and people, the 1950s seem a world away, and for business purposes the Pyrenees no longer exist. Spain’s 420 label companies convert around 400 million square meters (four billion square feet) of PS material yearly, and the country’s leading converters like Sinel (part of the Caposa Group) and Germark rank with the top producers in Europe.