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Solvite is 50 – A brief history of the Hanging man

Listed under Blog, solvite Posted Apr 15 2014

Solvite is 50 this year. You have all heard of Solvite paste right? – Henkel, the marketing company behind it, have made sure of that. The Hanging Man stunt – the 12 stone guy pasted to a board and flown around dangling from a helicopter.

If you were wondering, you will be relieved to know that the guy pasted to a board was last spotted alive and well in 2003. Your lining paper, vinyl and washable paper hung many years ago is probably doing OK too.

2003 Campaignlive; In the re-creation of the “man in Miami” ad, original footage from the 70s ad introduces the story. It shows the Solvite stuntman stuck to a board dangling from a plane, flying over the Miami skyline.

BDH/TBWA tracked down the original stuntman to appear in the new commercial. The old footage cuts to new scenes revealing the stuntman – now 63 years old, with grey hair and beard – still stuck to the board. The endline reads: “25 years on … still going strong.”

The agency’s creative director, Danny Brooke-Taylor, said: “The old ad is one of those that everyone remembers. We wanted to take the opportunity to pay a little homage to it. It was great to track down the original stuntman and recreate the shot.”

Solvite is 50 this year

Over the past 50 years, high stick Solvite paste better known as Potato starch caboxymethyl ether – sodium salt (CAS 68412-91-9) with fungicide to inhibit mould growth has been used by most paperhanging decorators and DIY’ers with resounding success, especially for hanging lining paper, vinyls and washables.

Whether it is the greatest idea on more delicate papers, probably best to look for a more tailored paste mix, but in terms of “general wallpapering” Solvite is the first stop for paste. Like HP is first stop for brown sauce, Gyproc for coving, Heinz for Baked Beans, Traditional Painter for painting your kitchen… you see how long term marketing of reliable products works 🙂

Who remembers Solvite paste 1964?

Today is my brother’s 50th birthday, I can’t remember him being born, let alone Solvite hitting the stores. My first memory of Solvite in my life was when I was around 18, when I first started decorating. That would have been 1981.

Older, older memories
Paul Barber our Traditional Painter colleague in Northampton is the grand old master of the group and has memories of Solvite from 1974. (Along with Rex, remember that?) He has since gone on to become a member of the Wallpaper Hangers Guild, and in the modern world of tub paste, still uses the olde worlde flakes, as they refer to packet paste now, for hanging lining paper.

I normally use Solvite Extra strong powder mix for the lining. I have never had a problem with this in over 30 years of using it.

See how time flies, it’s 40 years, mate!

Oldest memories of Solvite
Twitter is nothing if not a hive of useful information and meeting folks, and fellow Tweeter Leslie can remember her mother using Solvite, she was helping her mix it. This was around 1967/68. Pioneer days.

Leslie has since gone on to work as a decorative artist in the USA and now is back in the UK. She is probably not yearning to recreate her childhood labouring days.

If you have any Solvite stories, it would be interesting to hear them. Whatever one’s opinion of it, it has been the perennial paste on the shelves, and must be able to tell a few stories!



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