Remembering its contribution to the moon landing 50 years ago
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.