Ink Inc

Creativity is Key for Shannon Luminous Materials

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 10.09.09

There are an incredible array of uses for printing inks. Many of these are fairly obvious – for currency, packaging and publications – but there are a myriad of uses that do not readily come to mind, but rely on inks just the same.

For manufacturers of specialty inks, these creative applications are their company’s lifeblood.

Shannon Luminous Materials is one such manufacturer, having been founded to create inks and paints for Broadway and Hollywood. John (“Pop”) Thompson Shannon founded Shannon Luminous Materials, Inc. He started his craft on Broadway, developing fluorescent material for the first Ziegfeld Follies in 1907.

In 1912, Mr. Shannon joined an engineering firm called Keese Engineering Company, which eventually went on to become Shannon Luminous Materials, Inc. In the 1930s, he started to develop fluorescent paints, dyes and stains, primarily for theatrical and display usage. By 1945 he had developed a comprehensive product line of fluorescent lacquers, fluorescent inks, fluorescent fabrics, fluorescent ribbons and fluorescent costume materials.

“Pop Shannon was one of the first people to introduce a blacklight act on Broadway, and he came to Hollywood during the early days of the film industry,” said Dick Cruce, owner and president of Shannon Luminous Materials.

A chemical engineer, Mr. Cruce entered the ink industry two decades ago when he acquired Shannon, with an eye toward working closer to his home. He quickly found that Shannon Luminous Material’s customers keep him busy developing new products.

“This is quite a different sort of ink company,” Mr. Cruce said. “I had a pretty good handle on industrial chemistry, so I’m aware of what companies are doing. We’ve had a long time in the business, and we’re able to accommodate so many uses.”

These uses are tremendously varied. “For example, we manufacture invisible ink for stamping people and articles,” Mr. Cruce said. “People buy it as a readmission ink, such as for racing or sports events. In addition, lots of invisible markings go on in automation, where customers don’t want to mar the surface with inks, or to help in sorting.”

“We also make blacklight paints for rides and theatrical works, and even a specialized line of products for the fishing industry – dyed lacquers applied to spoons, which gives the depth of color to lures you can’t get with pigmented products,” Mr. Cruce said.

Service is an essential part of the business, and Shannon Luminous Materials strives to provide its customers with the best service. Attention to customers’ needs also allows the company to come up with innovative solutions for projects.

“Service is an important part of being successful,” Mr. Cruce said. “Personalized attention to your needs is what we offer. We are an agile company that is constantly growing to satisfy our client's ever-changing needs. Shannon's service and quality products are what separates us from the competition.”

Today, Shannon Luminous Materials is a leader in fluorescent colors, phosphorescent products and black lights, and its product lines are centered around providing a complete luminous solution, from its aqueous tracers to the 400 watt ultraviolet BlackFlood.

Considering how the company has continued to succeed over the years, Pop Shannon would be proud of how the company has grown.

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