The Beginning

It may seem a bit contrary that the birth of the Tag Manufacturers Institute (TMI) did not start with a desire of the tag manufacturers to form a trade association, but it is true. The fact is that the tag industry seems to have “backed into” TMI because of the requirements of the National Recovery Administration in May of 1933. Over a year previous to that, however, important manufacturers of tag products had met to consider the chaotic condition of the industry, on one hand, and ways and means for effective remedy on the other.

In May 1933, Frank H. Baxter, first Executive Director of the organization, was asked to meet with a Steering Committee made up of representatives of Dennison Manufacturing Company, The Denney Tag Company, American Tag Company and The Reyburn manufacturing Company, Inc. Following that meeting, he was asked to attend a meeting in Cleveland on June 15, 1933, with suggestions and plans for organizing a trade association with a suggested draft of a constitution and bylaws. It was well known that the tag industry-and every other industry-would have to have some form of organization through which to deal with the National Recovery Administration, the administrative agency set up under the then newly approved National Industrial Recovery Act.

Organizational Meeting

A preliminary meeting was held on June 1, 1933, for the purpose of deciding the advisability of inviting tag manufacturers to organize a trade association to enjoy the privileges of the then-impending Industrial Recovery Act. Then on June 15, it was unanimously voted by roll call to immediately organize a trade association to be known as the Tag Manufacturers Institute – the forerunner of today’s Tag and Label Manufacturer’s Institute.

In attendance at that meeting were representatives of the following companies:

Acme Tag Company Allen-Bailey Tag Co. American Tag Co.
Campbell Paper Box Co. Central Tag Co. Samuel Cupples Envelope Co.
Dancyger Safety Pin Ticket Co. Dennison Mfg. Co. Ennis Tag & Printing Co.
Harry M. Gifford Mfg. Co.  Haywood Tag Co. International Tag Co.
Keener Mfg. Co. Keystone Tag Co. Michigan Tag Co.
National Tag Mfg. Corp. Reyburn Mfg. Co. Robinson Tag & Label Co.
Waterbury Buckle Co.

From the spring of 1933 until the spring of 1935, every trade association in every industry concerned itself almost exclusively with the creation of, and learning to comply with, an NRA “Code of Fair Competition” for the industry it represented. The TMI followed the general pattern and, in complying with the mandates of the National Recovery Administration, the Tag Industry Code Authority developed forms for the creation of price lists that had not previously existed. The actual prices themselves were submitted by members of the industry, but the compilation of the lowest prices filed became the so-called Code Price List. The Institute also concerned itself with Code requirements relative to assembling data on the cost of doing business, including labor rates and other labor matters.

Tag Industry Agreement

During the life of the national Industrial Recovery Act, most of the “price” thinking was directed at some type of mandatory price maintenance. The more drastic the thinking, the more definite the attempt to have minimum prices set for an entire industry with a requirement that everyone in the industry sell at those prices or be “fined” for not doing so. At that time, an idea was proposed which would limit requirements in the matter of price to reporting the same but added the idea of assessing liquidated damages where the Code was violated. Thus the Tag Industry Agreement (TIA) was drafted. The problems of creating the necessary organization and procedures to administer the Agreement were Herculean and continued over many years. The Agreement was modified from time to time to comply with changing legal requirements. The Tag Industry Agreement was finally discontinued in 1976.

Tag Decision of 1949

One of the greatest responsibilities of the tag manufacturers who were parties to any of the Tag Industry Agreements was to make certain that the day-by-day activities of all parties concerned were kept within the confines of the anti-trust laws. It was never doubted that sooner or later either the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice would examine the entire program and the behavior behind it – with or without an official complaint. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) didn’t have to wait too long for its opportunity. In the process of winding up a case against pin ticket manufacturers, the FTC examiner suggested that he ought to look at the pin ticket matter and the Tag Industry program collaterally. He was invited to come in the front door and look at the program.

The results of the tag industry’s 10-year “battle” with the Federal Trade Commission are now well known. The Tag Decision of 1949 has been put down as a “bench mark” in the progress of those, representing both business and the Federal government, who have sought to reconcile the government’s efforts to enforce the anti-trust laws with practical economics. The Attorney General and the Chairman of the FTC at the time acknowledged the Tag Decision as compelling.

TMI Expands to Encompass Label Manufacturers

In 1962, the decision was made to expand the Tag Manufacturers Institute to include pressure sensitive label manufacturers. The first meeting of the newly formed Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute (TLMI) was held at French Lick, Indiana, in June of that year. It was attended by 12 members, ten of who were also Tag Division members. When announcing the formation of the new Label Division, then – President Robert W. Swett remarked: “The purpose of the new division is to promote the general welfare of the industry engaged in the manufacturing of pressure-sensitive label products; to develop standards of product performance for the benefit of the growing number of pressure-sensitive label users; and to provide industry cooperation with all government agencies in the interest of public welfare.”

Suppliers Added to Membership

The Institute was again expanded in 1966 when it was realized that member companies would benefit by the addition of their suppliers to the organization. Accordingly, in February of that year, at Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, an Associate Membership Division was formed with an inaugural membership of 15 firms. Charter member companies in the association included:
Coated Products Dennison Manufacturing Fasson
Fitchburg CPI Mark Andy Morgan Adhesives (MACtac)
Plainwell Paper Company Preston Engravers H.P. Smith Company
S.D.Warren Webtron Wyomissing



The Tag Technical Committee worked with the General Services Administration on further clarification of portions of the new UU-T-81f, and complete preliminary work on updating the TMI standard stock comparative designations, as well as analyzing the nonstandard stocks – all 96 used by TMI members.

The “Executives Guide to Tag Buying” is published, a 20-page illustrated booklet which provides business executives from all walks of industry with necessary factual information on modern tag buying.


A New York Division was established in an effort to expand industry services. Frank May (May Tag and Label) was appointed to head up the Division.


The Label Division was established for manufacturers of pressure-sensitive labels. Initial plans for the Division call for the forming of committees for membership, material standards, product standards, costing, and statistical data. Later committees will be established to cover marketing and government/industrial relations.


Plans were developed for the Label Division to proceed with a new Manual of Standard Specifications.

The TLMI newsletter was first issued in combined format for both divisions instead of individual newsletters for each division.

At the Winter Meeting, it was stated that the Label Division now had 20 members who accounted for 60-65% of the pressure-sensitive label business in the United States.


The Label Division produced its first Glossary of Terms, a 20-page publication designed to present descriptive terms which are common to or acceptable by the pressure-sensitive label buyer, the pressure-sensitive label manufacturer, and the pressure-sensitive label stock material supplier.


The Bylaws of TLMI were amended to include the addition of Associate (supplier) members.

The TLMI Executive Committee approved the development of a release tester for the industry.


Initial contact made by FINAT for possible establishment of technical exchange program with TLMI.

Tag Specification Guide was published and 7,500 copies ordered. Member companies subsequently place orders for 5,500 copies.

TLMI Bylaws were amended to note that the Associate Chairman would serve as a voting member of the Executive Committee.


Representatives of the TLMI Testing Subcommittee of the Label Division Technical Committee met in Cincinnati, Ohio, with officials of International Machine Products in order to approve the first production model of the TLMI Release Tester.

The TLMI Release Tester received unanimous approval at the Winter Meeting and the first full-scale production run was scheduled for the middle of March.

The Peel Adhesion Subcommittee of the Label Technical Committee met to finalize and approve the tentative TLMI Method of Test for 180º Peel from Stainless Steel ½ Hour Residence. The Subcommittee also approved a 90º Peel Adhesion Test Procedure.

The name of the newsletter was officially changed to the “Illuminator.”


The Associate Division was expanded to include the following categories of membership: machinery manufacturers, die makers, paper suppliers, PS base stock suppliers, ink suppliers, and plate makers.

The TLMI Headquarters moved from New York City to Stamford, Connecticut – after 36 years in the city.

A contract was signed between TLMI and Opti-Media Educational Materials Corporation for the development of a Pressman Training Program utilizing New Era and Young Equipment. The program developed training materials for on-the-job training of new operators encompassing programmed instructions.

The first prototype of the “second generation” TLMI Release and Adhesion Tester was produced by Testing Machines, Inc.



The second generation of the TLMI release and adhesion testers were announced, to be manufactured by Testing Machines, Inc.

A new Credit Reporting System was instituted for the Label Division, which joined this on-going activity of the Tag Division.

The General Services Administration announced that it was preparing a separate specification for pressure-sensitive labels, as differentiated from gummed labels.


Emphasis at the Fall General Meeting was on subjects relating to EDP, including a program on Point-of-Sales Systems, and a survey on EDP printer manufacturers. The Tag and Label Division agendas for their individual membership meetings also focused on the subject of EDP.


A special TLMI Profit Planning Workshop was held, conducted by Spencer A. Tucker, Director of the Profit Planning & Management Institute. The two-day intensive profit-planning workshop was geared to the problems and characteristics of the tag and label industries and aimed at upper and middle management.


A new logo was designed for TLMI and remains the basis of the logo used by the Institute today.

Standards for Splices and C1S Litho were approved by the Label Division members and included in the Label Division Manual of Standard Specifications.

The second edition of the TLMI Glossary of Terms for the Pressure-Sensitive Label Industry was published.

The Singer Management Ratio report was instituted.

The Executive Committee, in a unanimous decision, decided to give the exclusive selling rights of the TLMI testing equipment to Testing Machines, Inc.


TLMI Headquarters moves to new location in Stamford.

First edition of the TLMI Buyers Guide was issued, in conjunction with Package Printing magazine. Now entitled the TLMI Products Guide, this is issued each year, listing TLMI member companies and the products they manufacture. It is distributed through a summer edition of PACKAGE PRINTING & CONVERTING Magazine, and is mailed to over 1000 inquirers annually.


Membership in the Institute expands to include firms in Canada and Mexico. The first Canadian firm to join is Labelcraft; the first Mexican firm is Industrias Tuk.


The Board of Directors institutes a policy of requiring an initiation fee to accompany all new applications for membership.

The TLMI Bylaws are expanded to include International Members.


The first three International members to join are Norprint, Unistat and Novel Print.

The first TLMI Membership Certificates are issued to all members.

A monthly surplus supply report was instituted for the Label Division. The report is released with the monthly statistical reports.


A TLMI Scholarship Fund is established for the first time with voluntary contributions from the Associate Members.

A TLMI Awards Competition is announced for all Regular Members.


First scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to Rochester Institute of Technology. The recipient student attended TLMI’s spring technical seminar. The scholarship program had a slow start, until its reinstitution in 1988, thanks to a significant contribution from CONVERTING Magazine.

56 entries were received from 13 companies in the second annual Awards Competition.

TLMI Executive Director meets with the Executive Director of FINAT to discuss possible liaison between the two organizations.



Carroll Greathouse, who served as Executive Director for 22 years, retires.

TLMI Counsel Mike Weir moves from Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller to Chadbourne, Parke, Whiteside & Wolff and all TLMI records are transferred to the new firm.

A closer liaison with the European organization FINAT was established. Representatives of FINAT attended the 1980 Spring Technical Seminar for the first time.

The first TLMI Members Manual was written and released detailing the many activities of the association.

The third edition of the Glossary of Terms for the Pressure Sensitive Label Industry was printed. The new edition was expanded from the 20 pages of the second edition to over 120 pages.

TLMI agrees for the first time to co-sponsor the Converting Machinery/Materials Third Exposition-and to take a booth during the Show.

The first TLMI Membership Directory is printed combining the information contained in the regular TLMI Membership List and the TLMI Buyers Guide.


A new set of Adhesive Test Methods were developed by the Associate Division’s Adhesives Common Interest Group and were added to the Label Division Manual of Standard Specifications.

Winner of the second annual TLMI Scholarship Fund was announced.


TLMI enters into discount rental programs with Hertz Car Rental and Avis Company.

Awards Committee changes the categories of the competition in an attempt to make it more meaningful.

Board of Directors approves new category of membership for the Associate Division-Label Applicating Equipment.

107 entries were received from 22 companies in this year’s awards competition.

Competition is announced for design of logo for TLMI’s 50th Anniversary.

First TLMI Library List prepared and disseminated to all members, listing, by category, presentations from various TLMI meetings, newsletters, etc.

TLMI agrees to co-sponsor CMM/4.


The winning logo for the 50th Anniversary was designed by Jack Perry, Art Director of Kalamazoo Label Company.

TLMI office investigates the possibility of establishing a Prime Label Committee within the Label Division.

The first TLMI Market Trends Study is released to the members. The final report will be prepared for the Fall Meeting.


TLMI cosponsored the first Converter of the Year award with PACKAGE PRINTING Magazine. The first award was presented to Don McDaniel, MPI Label Systems.


TLMI Liner Committee is established.

Board of Directors reinstates TLMI Scholarship Program.

Supplier membership on the Board of Directors increases to three.

Board of Directors approves new mission statement.


TLMI cosponsored Labelexpo, the industry tradeshow targeted exclusively to the label and tag industry.

The World Label Association Awards program was initiated, a joint effort of TLMI, FINAT and the Japan Label Printing Federation. This competition recognizes the highest quality of label printing in the world.



President George Bush recognized TLMI President-Elect Pat Patrick, in a White House ceremony acknowledging the TLMI ALLIES program (American Label Leaders Involved in Eradicating Substance Abuse).


TLMI transitions to self-managed association with Carol Godiksen selected as Executive Director. Headquarters moves to Iowa City.


The Created With Pride quality campaign was launched to increase customer awareness of TLMI members as quality label houses. In this year, TLMI also published its fourth Glossary of Terms for Pressure Sensitive Labels.

A fourth category is added to the Singer Awards for mid-range companies.

The 4th edition of the TLMI Glossary of Terms is completed.


The Environmentally Sensible Practices Release Liner Recycling Program was established, to provide label customers with an environmentally sound alternative to land filling used liner.

A TLMI technical conference was re-instituted after five year absence.


TLMI North American Label Study was finalized and released in October. The revised TLMI Label Manual of Recommended Standard Specifications was also made available.

TLMI hosts first joint meeting in October of 1994 with its European counterpart, FINAT, in Williamsburg, VA.


TLMI began support of Industry Education at the high school level. TLMI donated $16K in support of a flexography press to be donated to a high school.

TLMI launched support to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, asking members to donate unused frequent flyer miles to be used by children with life threatening diseases or illnesses.


A second edition of the TLMI North American Label Study was published and released in the Fall.

Headquarters moved from Iowa City to Naperville, IL. Former Board member and industry leader, Bud Gray, assumes role as Executive Director.


Frank A. Sablone hired as TLMI’s Executive Director.

TLMI membership approves dues changes, first time in 15 years.


TLMI and its member companies reach an initial goal of donating one million frequent flyer miles to the Make-A-wish Foundation.

The third edition of the North American Label Study was published.

The TLMI Board revamps its Scholarship program under Chairman Bruce Bell’s (Belmark) leadership. The Board approves to match dollar for dollar, member gifts, up to $150,000. First phase of the goal is to reach $500,000.


March – TLMI and the Tarsus Group sign agreement to co-sponsor Labelexpo well into the 21st century.



TLMI Standards Committee issues the 2000 edition of “A Manual of Recommended Standard Test Methods for Pressure Sensitive Labels”.

TLMI & FINAT hold joint conference in October at The Breakers Hotel, Palm Beach, Florida.


TLMI Scholarship chairman announces that the first phase of the scholarship goal was surpassed. The Board agrees to immediately begin second phase to reach $1,000,000.


*TLMI & FINAT hold joint conference in Vienna, Austria.


TLMI Board approves new mission statement to better represent our members.

Mike Buystedt named first Supplier of the year.

The First TLMI Environmental Awards are given to E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company and Gallus Ferd. Rüeesch AG


The TLMI Board of Directors establishes a vision statement to help shape the future direction of the association.

Board establishes new member benefits programs “Get Sales Now” and Dun & Bradstreet Credit Reports

Labelexpo Golf Challenge raises $17,600 for TLMI Scholarship Fund.

TLMI reaches first goal for the scholarship fund by raising $600,000. Board agrees to move to Phase II and reach $1 million.

Steve Lee is named Supplier of the Year and Mike Dowling is named Converter of the Year.

Green Bay Packaging and WS Packaging Group win Environmental Awards

TLMI Board endorsed “recommended best practices guidelines” for Reverse Auctions developed by the Aluminum Foil Container Manufacturers Association.


TLMI joins forces with Conversion Magazine to produce the Illuminator in Spanish.

TLMI scholarship fund reaches $775,000 toward $1 million goal.

TLMI introduces an affinity program for all members who accept credit cards for payment.

TLMI Legal counsel Mike Weir retires after 50 years.

TLMI members join FINAT for a joint conference in Baveno, Italy.

Converter of the Year is awarded to Walter Dow and Ferd Rüeesch, Jr. is named Supplier of the Year.

Environmental Awards are presented to G 3 Enterprises and DuPont Teijin Films.

Executive Director Sablone is promoted to President. President of the TLMI Board of Directors is now Chairman of the Board.


TLMI host joint meeting with FINAT.

Cal Frost receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Tarsus.

TLMI Board establishes long range strategic growth plan.

A new committee called the Education Committee is formed by the Board of Directors.

Bob and Suzanne Zaccone are named Converter of the Year while Cindy White is honored as TLMI Supplier of the Year.

Plastic Suppliers & Ricoh Electronics are named Environmental Leaders.


TLMI publishes the 2007 North American Label Study.

The Board establishes a “Safety Guard Competition” developed and overseen by the TLMI Safety & Health Committee. The objective is to improve press guards on both new and retrofitable narrow web presses.

TLMI Shipping Program is announced.

First Converter Quick Poll is completed.

John Pedroli is named Converter of the Year while Dan O’Connell is selected as Supplier of the Year.

Fujifilm Graphic Systems and Metro Label of Toronto are awarded Environmental Leadership Awards.

Sablone completes 10 years of service to TLMI.

Converter membership reached record numbers.

TLMI establishes a new report, “The Quarterly Index & Trend Reports”.


TLMI marks 75 years of service to the industry.

PFFC produces 75th anniversary historical perspective.

TLMI achieves 80% of its strategic plan goals two years ahead of schedule.

FINAT celebrates its 50th anniversary.

TLMI Board of Directors asks Sablone to remain in his position through 2014. The Board also agrees to move the association’s office to the greater Boston area.

TLMI establishes a certification program called L.I.F.E. (Label Initiative For the Environment).

TLMI scholarship fund reaches its 1 million dollar fund raising goal.

Converter of the Year is Frank Gerace and Cheryl Caudill is selected Supplier of the Year.

Avery Dennison and The Lauterbach Group win Environmental Leadership Awards.


TLMI Board of Directors sets new strategic plan.

Ten members become L.I.F.E. certified.

Spear Inc. and 3M both receive TLMI Environmental Awards.

Dave McDowell is selected Converter of the Year and Gary Smith is named Supplier of the Year.



TLMI Board votes 5 Honorary Life memberships: to Pat Hague, Frank Gerace, Gary Smith, Terry Fulwiler, and Roy Webb.

13 members to be certified in L.I.F.E. bring total to 23 companies certified by year end.

McCourt Label & Toray Plastics receive TLMI Environmental Awards.

John Hickey is named Converter of the Year and Calvin Frost selected Supplier of the Year.


5 members to be certified in L.I.F.E. bring total to 28 companies certified by year end.

Avery Dennison and Label World receive TLMI Environmental Awards.

Ken Kidd is named Converter of the Year and Pat Hague selected Supplier of the Year.

In March, Ken Kidd is awarded Honorary Life membership.


TLMI launches newly redesigned website.

TLMI Board of Directors asks Sablone to remain in his position through 2016.

Total L.I.F.E.  certified member facilities at year end is 34.

Mitsubishi Polyester Film and The Label Printers receive TLMI Environmental Leadership Awards.

Scott Pillsbury is named Converter of the Year and John Bennett is selected Supplier of the Year.


The TLMI North American Label Study 2013 is released.

Total L.I.F.E.  certified member facilities at year end is 49.

The Label Printers and Avery Dennison are honored with TLMI 2013 Environmental Awards.

Jeff Dunphy named Converter of the Year and David Taylor Supplier of the Year.


TLMI Annual Meeting sets an attendance record.

Yerecic Label and Green Bay Packaging are honored with Environmental Leadership Awards.

Art Yerecic is named Converter of the Year and Michelle Garza Supplier of the Year.


TLMI North American Digital Label Study released in February.

President Frank A. Sablone announces plan to retire at the end of 2016. Search for a new association president is launched.

Lauterbach Group honored with 2015 Environmental Leadership Award. Certificates of achievement awarded to The Dow Chemical Company and Yerecic Label.

Randy & Geri Wise are named Converters of the Year and Daryl Hanzal Supplier for the Year.

TLMI Past Chairmen of the Board of Directors

2019-Present Michael Ritter ID Images
2016-2018 Craig Moreland Coast Label Company
2014-2016 Dan Muenzer Constantia Flexibles
2014 Jeff Dunphy Design Label Manufacturing, Inc.
2012-2014 Dave McDowell McDowell Label & Screen Printing
2010-2012 Art Yerecic Yerecic Label
2008-2010 Frank Gerace Multi-Color Corporation
2006-2008 John Hickey Smyth Companies Inc.
2004-2006 Scott Pillsbury Rose City Label Company
2002-2004 John Bankson Label Technology, Inc.
2002 Jim Valestrino Los Angeles Label Co.
2000-2002 Michael Dowling CL & D Graphics Inc.
1998-2000 Suzanne Zaccone Graphic Solutions, Inc.
1996-1998 Thomas J. Cobery Label Art
1994-1996 George Noah Lewis Label Products
1992-1994 Pat Patrick Label America
1990-1992 Darrell Dochstader Gar-Doc, Inc.
1989-1990 Richard D. Schwartz Aladdin Label, Inc.
1987-1988 James English Kalamazoo Label Co.
1985-1986 Paul Dunphy Design Label Manufacturing Inc.
1984 Jerry Nerad Professional Tape
1982-1983 Donald W Buchta Mid America Tag & Label
1981-1982 Leonard J. Peterson Label Art, Inc.
1980-1981 Jack L. Page Kalamazoo Label Co.
1978-1979 David L. Peirce Denney-Reyburn Co.
1976-1977 Robert D. Fletcher Avery Label Co.
1974-1975 William W. Muir, Jr Grand Rapids Label Co.
1972-1973 Richard J. Pearson Avery Products Corp.
1970-1971 Richard H. Gifford H.M. Gifford Manufacturing
1968-1969 Price H. Gwynn, III Package Products Co.
1967 Howard E. Gorton Dennison Manufacturing
1965-1966 John S. Torrey Avery Label Co.
1964 L.F. Gehrig Ennis Business Forms, Inc.
1962-1963 Robert W. Swett American Tag Co.
1959-1961 George E. Phelps Allen-Bailey Tag Company, Inc.
1957-1958 Howard E. Gorton Dennison Manufacturing
1955-1956 D.M. Swett American Tag Co.
1953-1954 H.C. McElroy Ennis Business Forms, Inc.
1951-1952 W.C. Bailey, Jr. The Reyburn Manufacturing
1949-1950 Gibbons G. Cornwell The Denney Tag Company
1947-1948 A.G. Shennan International Tag & Salesbook
1944-1946 P.M.  Pope A. Kimball Co.
1941-1943 W.C. Bailey, Jr. The Reyburn Manufacturing
1940 A.P. Williams Dennison Manufacturing Co.
1939 A.G. Shennan International Tag & Salesbook
1938 A.P. Williams Dennison Manufacturing Co.
1937 E.J. McKay Robinson Tag and Label Co.
1934-1936 E.M. Anderson American Tag Co.
1933 Elmer Floback Acme Tag Co.

* Prior to 2005, the leader of the TLMI Board of Directors had the title President.