More than 130 years of history
It’s 1885. Grover Cleveland is president of the United States, the Statue of Liberty says her first hello to New York Harbor and Dr. Pepper is served for the very first time.
A uniquely 19th Century problem
Over a century ago, in an era of horse-drawn carts, flies were a big problem - one without an easy solution. Customers from farmers to lawyers would visit their local drugstore and wait while their flypaper was prepared by hand. But the most commonly used adhesive for flypaper at the time either dried out too quickly or soaked through its paper backing, creating a gooey, unusable mess.
One of the entrepreneurial Thum brothers, looking to put his brothers and himself through college and sick of brushing the unpredictable goo onto its backing, had an idea. He developed an adhesive formula in the back of the drugstore from natural ingredients already found on their shelves: castor oil, resins and wax.
The Thums’ invention was a hit.
Tanglefoot evolves to meet changing consumer needs
But as the 20th Century began, the rise of the automobile presented a new challenge for Thum – less manure from horse-drawn carriages meant less flies. Sales of flypaper, a best-selling product for decades, experienced a steep decline. It looked like the once-household Tanglefoot name would go the way of the horse and carriage.
Seeing the industry shift, the Tanglefoot brand stayed true to its heritage while still innovating to meet changing consumer needs. The company (which officially became The Tanglefoot Company in 1923) introduced Tree Tanglefoot. An adaptation of the sticky flypaper adhesive the Thums originally designed, it was redesigned to prevent destructive insects like cankerworms from crawling up tree trunks and wreaking havoc on precious trees. Natural and organic Tree Tanglefoot proved to be an enormous breakthrough for home gardeners, commercial growers, farmers and researchers alike.
Over the years, The Tanglefoot Company continued adding new sticky products to its original line, including Tangle-Trap Insect Trap Coating, which used the decades-old technology of the original flytrap to catch and control crop-damaging pests.
A natural legacy continues
The Thum brothers retired to California before passing away, but ultimately their legacy of non-toxic Tanglefoot products that protect consumers and precious trees from damaging insects lives on.
Today, as consumer demand has increased for non-toxic solutions to common insect problems, Tanglefoot has continued to expand its insect control product line. Our pest control solutions are the go-to for homeowners, Master Gardeners, farmers and researchers alike. The company continues to evolve, providing effective solutions for environmentally conscious shoppers through garden centers, hardware stores, big-box retailers and even the Web.
While the world has changed dramatically since 1885, Tanglefoot has always found a way to stick around.