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Post-Its at 25

Happy 25th Anniversary, Post-It Notes, the indespensible element of my note-taking and todo-list management.

I was reading a history of the invention of the Post-It notes, and I found it interesting how much it parallels other classic stories of invention: small inventor vs. corporate behemoth, great invention but no idea what to use it for, near-failure, etc... It especially reminded me of many of the classic PARC vs. Xerox stories, from the invention of ethernet to the invention of the laser printer.

I've heard many times the story of how the adhesive used in Post-Its was a failed attempt at creating a super-strong adhesive; I don't know if that is apocryphal or not, but the history above doesn't even go into this. Instead, it talks about the various failed ideas for how to use the substance, from Post-It Bulletin Boards (images of corkboard printed onto a large tacky surface) to Post-It bookmarks. Even when Fry, the inventor, finally came upon the idea of Post-It notes, he had trouble getting 3M to produce them. Despite their wild popularity within the company, 3M didn't want to shift their production process from things that you sold on rolls; Fry had to build his own miniature manufacturing machine to prove that it could be done.

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Lacy:

Who inwented the Post-Its?

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on April 27, 2005 10:23 AM.

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