ChemArt ornament making

Each year, an American president takes the form of an ornament made in a bustling factory in Lincoln named ChemArt. The company was founded in 1976 by Richard Beaupre, a research chemist who invented photo resist, a material used to coat metal and streamline the photo-etching process. Today, ChemArt sends out about 2 million ornaments a year. Its clients range from the San Diego Zoo to the White House Historical Association, which was founded by Jacqueline Kennedy to refurbish the inside of the White House and educate the public. ChemArt started in 1981 with a George Washington ornament; this year, the company’s up to Calvin Coolidge. “We’ve become pocket historians,” says President David R. Marquis. Making the ornaments is a seventeen-step process from design to shipping. Here, in an early phase of the process, designs for the Coolidge ornament have been converted into two large pieces of film. Workers then sandwich the film around the metal and expose it to ultraviolet light, which burns the image into the metal sheet and helps preserve Coolidge for posterity.