PRINTWEAR EXCLUSIVE: International Coatings Celebrates Diamond Anniversary

Printwear talks with International Coatings about their 60th anniversary.

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international coatings

CERRITOS, Calif.-Textile and screen-printing ink developer International Coatings celebrates its 60th anniversary. Herbert A. Wells, a chemist involved in the development of Elmer’s Glue, founded the company in 1957. While the company primarily specializes in inks, vinyl and urethane plastics, and specialty coatings today, International Coatings initially produced industrial plastic and adhesive compounds. Since 1957, product line expansions include plastics, coatings, and adhesives for markets such as apparel, traffic marking, and water filtration.

“We at International Coatings are thrilled to celebrate 60 years of successes” says Stephen Kahane, president of International Coatings. “We know that our growth, longevity, and success come from our customers, distributor partners, and employees. We are particularly proud that our diamond anniversary represents 60 years of continuous family ownership and management.”

Family runs constant through other parts of company personnel as well, says Juke Leman, marketing director for International Coatings.

“There are a lot of people who have been with the company for really long time, like 30-40 years,” Leman explains, adding that one family at the organization counts three generations of employees, dating back to the early days of the company with Mr. Wells.

international coatings screen printing ink ad

An early advertisement for the company’s inks and transfers. (Image courtesy International Coatings)

A wide variety of plastics innovations fall under the company’s product umbrella, and the decades have yielded products ranging from commercial goods, to pop culture cornerstones. Previous clients include nationwide fast-food chains, children’s toy conglomerates, and even film companies.  

“We were the first company to make the all-white compounds for the (Star Wars) Stormtrooper masks,” Leman points out.

international coatings star wars masks

Star Wars masks compounds. (Image courtesy International Coatings)

And while Los Angeles County has long been the home of International Coatings’ operations, the Cerritos headquarters was built in the 1960s to accommodate the company’s growth. The Cerritos facility also ushered in the company’s foray into screen-printing inks. Since then, International Coatings has rolled out various inks for both apparel and textile printing applications. Leman notes that the company’s longevity hasn’t been without challenges. Moments like the 2007-2009 economic downturn, and changes in ink regulations both presented obstacles for the organization.

“We’ve weathered some heavy duty storms,” says Leman. “Plus, we’ve had the whole change in the industry to non-phthalate inks.”

Maintaining industry standards, and striving towards more sustainable, eco-friendly solutions are part of the company’s forward-looking goals, Leman says. The company maintains compliance with internationally-recognized classification systems, like the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), and continues to develop new ink technologies.

“We’re evolving all the time, so there’s really no point where we’ve been stagnant,” Leman points out.  

For more information on International Coatings, visit

Mike Clark

Mike Clark is the editor-at-large for GRAPHICS PRO. Contact him at [email protected]

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