International Hologram Manufacturers Association Celebrates Holography's 60th Anniversary

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This year marks the 60th year since the first patents for holograms were filed by Hungarian scientist Denis Gabor, following -- it is alleged -- a flash of inspiration on a tennis court in 1947.

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This year marks the 60th year since the first patents for holograms were filed by Hungarian scientist Denis Gabor, following -- it is alleged -- a flash of inspiration on a tennis court in 1947.

The International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) is marking this anniversary as part of an extended public relations and industry information campaign. It has devised a special 60th anniversary logo which is available for members to use on printed materials and websites. A special history of holography display will also be included at a number of major international trade events later in the year.

Following Gabor's initial idea, the Thompson Houston Company applied for patents on his new invention and in 1948 the concept was made public when Gabor presented a paper at the Royal Society in London.

Although it took many years for Gabor's original holographic concepts to be embodied into commercial science, holograms -- now used as a generic term for several types of diffractive optical devices -- have now found uses in a wide variety of applications across a whole range of industries from authentication and decorative packaging to diagnostics, imaging, visualisation and data storage.

Holograms are probably best known for authentication, being recognised as one of the most versatile and effective security devices available. Across the globe they now protect more than half the world's banknotes and fiscal stamps and are the recommended device on many countries' passports. Holographic images also protect the world's largest software brand, as well as automotive parts, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and other industrial and consumer brands.

In this way, as an anti-copying technology that combines sophisticated origination technology with ease of verification, holograms have the proven capability to protect against the combined threats of forgery, photocopying and scanning.

In addition, as an anti-tampering device, the combination of optical technology with materials science means that holographic labels have the ability to immediately reveal any attempts at alteration or removal.

But authentication, although the largest application for holograms today, is not the only one. Another key application is decorative packaging, and here the versatility of holographic products, which can supplied in a wide variety of designs, materials and format to integrate with existing packaging design and production processes, are providing stunning visual effects way beyond the capabilities of conventional techniques for pack enhancement and brand differentiation. Holographic films and labels are now being used to enhance and promote a wide range of consumer products- as a walk down the aisles of any supermarket or retail outlet will immediately show.

While authentication and brand enhancement have proved the bedrock of the holographic industry over the past two decades, a surge of invention and innovation in the past few years is opening up previously unheard of applications in areas such as diagnostics, medical imaging, 3D visualisation and mapping, lighting, display and architecture.

According to Wilfried Schipper, chairman of the IHMA: "The holographic industry has developed rapidly over the past 60 years. Holograms and related devices now act as fundamental security measure for document and products that require protection against counterfeiters. It has also developed an important role in markets for its visual appeal, while the new generation of technological breakthroughs show that holography is still in its infancy in terms of what it can be used to achieve.'

"Denis Gabor's inspiration introduced the initial technology that began this process and the IHMA's members now look forward to the continued success of the holographic industry."

The IHMA is made up of nearly 90 of the world's leading hologram companies. IHMA members are the leading producers and converters of holograms for banknote security, anti-counterfeiting, brand protection, packaging, graphics and other commercial applications around the world. IHMA member companies actively cooperate to maintain the highest professional, security and quality standards.

Issued on behalf of the IHMA by Mitchell Halton Watson Ltd.

For further details contact Ian Watson on +44 (0) 191 233 1300 or e mail: ian @

MHW PR 8 Higham Place, Newcastle, UK, NE1 8AF


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