I know three things about Minneapolis, Minnesota.
One: It is the home of Rose Nylund.
Two: The Mall of America is there.
Three: It is where Post-it Notes were born.
In the 1997 comedy “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion”, the girls use Post-it Notes as their claim to fame in order to impress their former high school classmates. Needless to say it doesn’t work. Unfortunately they were about twenty years too late.
But whoever did invent them was a genius.
They have certainly transformed my life. I use them daily as reminders and as indicators to mark my territory, mostly in the refrigerator.
As luck would have it I was sitting down tonight trying to catch up with my DVR and I was watching last week’s episode of “Mysteries at the Museum”, a must watch show for me. As I was listening and working this topic appeared before my eyes. Talk about good timing!!!
As host Don Wildman and the Internet informed me, this creation all began with a chemist named Spencer Silver. He had been working at the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (now called 3M) for several years when in 1968 he was tasked with inventing a special adhesive for airplane parts. What he came up with was a kind of glue that contained tiny bubbles that became increasingly sticky as it dried. However it was never strong enough for what it was needed for.
"People often think you invent a product and voila, it's done. But that's just not the case. It generally takes many years and many people to make something happen."
- Spencer Silver
That’s where our story takes an intermission until around 1973. Silver’s friend and fellow 3M employee, Arthur Fry, was frustrated with his church’s hymnbooks because all of the papers were falling out due to wear and tear. That’s when it hit him; Silver’s glue could help solve this problem! From there these two partners used left over yellow scrap paper and created what they called bookmarks, stuck together with Silver’s glue, which they subsequently handed out to all of their friends.
By 1977 Silver and Fry had convinced 3M to bring their then called “Press ‘n’ Peel Pads” to market. They officially hit stores in 1980 under their new name, Post-it Notes. To date it is 3M’s highest selling item.
“My biggest reward is to see so many people use and appreciate my product."
- Arthur Fry
As time went on this glue went on to be used in medical bandages, interior decorating kits, although Silver nor Fry ever received any royalties from any of his products since they were 3M employees who created products as part of their job descriptions.
Silver retired from 3M in 1996 after filing at least twenty-two patents. In 2010 he was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.
Although these bright and creative men never received any special payments for this invention, I do hope are held in high regard by their former classmates, whether or not they left their high school reunion in a helicopter.
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