Delivering Innovation at Diagraph for 125 Years – and Counting |
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Delivering Innovation at Diagraph for 125 Years – and Counting
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Let’s set the scene: The year is 1893. Pepsi is introduced to the world for the first time as “Brad’s Drink” in New Bern, North Carolina. The zipper – referred to as a “clasp locker” – makes its debut at the Chicago World’s Fair. Inspired by views from Pikes Peak in Colorado, Katharine Lee Bates writes “America the Beautiful”. And on the banks of the Mississippi River along the St. Louis Levee, cargo piles up as it’s awaiting hand addressing…

In this Mississippi River cargo traffic jam, Andrew Jackson Bradley saw an opportunity for innovation. By November of 1893, he invented the first stencil cutting machine, the Bradley Stencil Machine, to aid in marking goods neatly and quickly to expedite the laborious hand addressing process of cargo. The stencil machine was an alternative to expensive brass stencils and reduced inconsistencies and labor associated with hand marking.

The Bradley Stencil Machine emphasized its ease-of-use -- with successful operation that could be achieved by nearly anyone with just 15 minutes of practice. The invention boasted new possibilities in the marking industry by making it simple to include a variety of shipment information including the name and address of the recipient, routing number, weight, description of contents, and even branding. This would only be the first time of many in Diagraph company’s 125-year history in which commercial business would be revolutionized.

Throughout the years since the creation of the stencil machine, milestones in innovation have continued to define Diagraph:

  • 1904 - The Bradley Stencil Machine received the Gold Medal Award at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis World’s Fair) for its revolutionary impact on product marking
  • 1915 – World’s first full service product marking supplier
  • 1969 – World’s first roll coder: the DiCoder
  • 1986 – World’s first integrated valve jet technology
  • 1990 – World’s first high resolution piezoelectric print engine – Trident Technology
  • 1996 – World’s first centralized ink delivery system design for high resolution inkjet
  • 2002 – World’s first automated cleaning system for high resolution inkjet technology
  • 2008 – World’s first all-electric automated labeling system platform


In 2018, we are celebrating our long-established heritage at Diagraph and our products that are known to last, last, and last. This commemorative year means a new, modern look for Diagraph that exhibits the strength and integrity of our quality craftsmanship, products and people. We are marking  this moment in history as a meaningful stepping stone in delivering the next 125+ years of excellence to our customers through an entirely new approach to service and support.

We want to bring our loyal customers and employees along on this celebratory journey with us throughout the year. Check back for more deep dives into our past and announcements for what the future of Diagraph brings!

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