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THE ORIGINS OF PAINTLESS DENT REMOVAL

Paintless dent removal – a fascinating story of the automotive industry:

Paintless dent removal was invented by Oskar Flaig in February of 1960 during the "International Motor Sports Show" in New York City, USA.

Oskar Flaig was an ordinary member of staff at Mercedes. His job was to take care of the paintwork of all the show cars presented at trade fairs. Damage, scratches on the paintwork and small dents, produced by the public during the day, needed to be re-painted at night, so the vehicles would be in perfect condition on the next day. At the trade fair in New York City, Oskar Flaig used a hammer handle to push out a small dent, so he would need to apply less filler before painting. Nevertheless, the result already looked perfect after pushing. This was the beginning of paintless dent removal.

When he arrived at home after the show, Oskar Flaig started to develop additional tools under primitive conditions using hammer and broom handles, screw drivers, wrecking bars, and angled chisels. He soon discovered that spring steel was especially suitable for the production of straightening hooks and straightening bars, and he continued to further develop this technology.

In 1962 he was promoted to foreman for is great commitment in training the staff of the Sindelfingen plant, and his colleagues addressed him as golden tinsmith. A short time later, he held training courses at all branch plants in the USA and England. By the way, the term "golden tinsmith" has survived until today.

Paintless dent removal came back to Europe from the USA via Italy. Italian craftsmen gained this knowledge and used it to repair hail damage, first in Italy and Austria and later in Germany as well. In Germany this technology was kept secret for a long time. It was made public only when dent removal teams from Italy appeared on the German market.

The Gärtringen-based coachbuilding company Nüssle has been using paintless dent removal for more than two decades.

Its owner, Erich Nüssle, develops special tools for dent removal and markets them with his company Nüssle Spezialwerkzeuge, which was established in 1996. Nüssle also offers training courses to learn paintless dent removal, following the idea that training is the way to go because you need to be familiar with the tools and know the right approach and techniques to be able to carry out high-quality work.

By now every automobile manufacturer in the world uses paintless dent removal. Billions of euros have been saved this way, thanks to Oskar Flaig, who was a foreman in charge of 120 members of staff when he retired from Mercedes in 1987.

Oskar Flaig died at the age of 90 in the Swabian town of Böblingen.