The First Plastic Pick, EVER!
In 1922, D’Andrea USA invented the first guitar pick! Today we are creating picks for many companies seen across the world, have an extensive catalog of custom picks and products, and have been distributing leading products such as Bullet Cable, Thimble Slide and Ace Guitar Straps.
It all started in downtown New York City in 1922. Luigi D’Andrea, a Neapolitan vacuum cleaner salesman, happened upon a sidewalk sale. He bought some sheets of tortoise shell colored cellulose nitrate plastic and mallet dies that were used to make little
heart shaped decorations for the tops of powder puff boxes. He punched out a few hundred of the little 1″ flat hearts on his kitchen table. When his young son Anthony observed that the hearts resembled an uncle’s tortoise shell
mandolin pick it gave Luigi an idea. A few days later, he sold a cigar box of the little hearts to the G. Schirmer & Son Company, a New York music store, for the amazing sum of $10. He knew he had something to build on here so
he started a small factory on 27th street in NYC.
By 1928, Luigi D’Andrea was the Henry Ford of guitar picks. He had semi-automated equipment to punch, tumble and imprint as many as 59 different shaped picks in both celluloid and real tortoise shell. He produced flat picks, thumb
and fingerpicks, pickguards as well as drum bags and cases for guitar, bass, saxophone and accordion.
In the 1930’s, Luigi’s son Anthony joined the business and began many innovations of his own. Not only the production, but the marketing of picks became his forte. The 50’s and 60’s saw the advent of mass-producing private label picks
for guitar companies requiring sophisticated automated printing and packaging. Everyone from the local music store to the Beatles wanted personalized picks.
Luigi D’Andrea was the Henry Ford of guitar picks!
In the 70’s, Tony D’Andrea Jr., Luigi’s grandson, took over and expanded the business into more guitar accessories, straps and care products. Tony also gave the players the fourth and fifth sound by developing gauges between thin,
medium and heavy. During the 90’s, Charlie Lusso revolutionized the imprint process by the introduction of pad-printing. This process overcame the speed and design limitations of hot-stamping. Very intricate multi-colored logos
could be produced by computer-generated film.
There are over 25,000 imprint files in the D’Andrea archives.
After 90 years of producing, developing and innovating, there are 12 D’Andrea pick lines in 6 plastics including classic celluloid. Private label picks are made for many prominent guitar manufacturers, thousands of music retailers
worldwide, and most veteran and contemporary artists. There are over 25,000 imprint dies in the D’Andrea archives. In July of 2012, Tony and his wife Rosemary both retired from the company in order to spend more time with their
family. At the time of their retirement, the D’Andrea family transitioned operations of the company to their longtime friend and business partner John J. DiMugno Jr. and his company Delmar Products, Inc. Since then Delmar Products,
a longtime plastic supplier, has been able to expand D’Andrea’s previous business in supplying guitar picks and other accessories to other guitar pick manufacturing companies including Fender, Dunlop, Ernie Ball and many other