Remembering its contribution to the moon landing 50 years ago

24.07.2019 On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon. For the 50th anniversary of this event, textile machinery manufacturer Saurer AG, Wattwil/Switzerland, remembers the small but significant contribution by the company. This was made possible through the expertise of a customer, apparel manufacturer Lion Brothers Company, Owings Mills, MD/USA.

© Photo: Saurer

Already in 1967, the company had become the first to supply the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with embroidered mission patches, starting with Apollo 1.
Using Saurer’s 2S-55, the most advanced embroidery machine of the time, Lion Brothers produced the shoulder patch for Apollo 11, the mission that resulted in 2 astronauts landing on the moon.
At the time, punched tape was used to program embroidery machines. An image 6 times the size of the design, called the cartoon, was produced. The puncher then recorded the X and Y coordinates on the paper tape by punching holes into it. The creation of the cartoon and digitalizing process were both manual. In the case of the Apollo 11 mission patches, the government contract with Lion Brothers dictated that all cartoons and punched tapes had to be destroyed once production was complete. This means that any such patches produced subsequently are copies.