Maker Profile: The Inventor of Post-it Notes


Did you know that the inventor of Post-it Notes, a convenient office supply that we take for granted, created them completely by accident?

Much like with our exploration of the invention of Silly Putty, the original inventor of Post-its was trying to make a better version of something that already existed. In this case, he was working on a better adhesive–something like tape or glue. Spencer Silver, a chemist at 3M, was trying to create “a better, stronger, tougher adhesive.” And guess what? He totally failed!

The adhesive he ended up creating was actually much WEAKER than normal glue or tape. It had the ability to stick to something but then be peeled off without damaging the surface it was stuck to. Silver created this in 1968, and believed it was a useful product. However, he was unable to find a practical application for it until 6 years later…

In 1974, a 3M colleague of Silver’s, Art Fry, was struggling in his church choir practices. He would bookmark his hymnbook with little scraps of paper, only to have them all fall out when he turned the pages. Silver’s paper, with its temporary stickiness that wouldn’t tear his hymnbook pages, seemed like the perfect solution…and it was!

Soon enough, people around the office started using Post-its as a whole new (and convenient) way to communicate. 3M finally launched the product in 1980, and it’s been unstoppable ever since!

Now, Post-its are used all over the world for everything from productivity to art, and more!

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