The Post-It Note Turns 30
It’s one of those items that we wish we’d invented, and how did we ever live without it? It’s been 30 years but the Post-it note is the result of a mistake.
Yellow sticky notes, officially known as Post-it Notes, got their start in 1968 when a 3M researcher (Spencer Silver) tried to improve adhesive tape. What he got was a semisticky adhesive–not exactly what you want out of tape. Even so, he knew he had something cool–he just didn’t know what to do with it. Four years later, another 3M scientist (Arthur Fry, pictured) was getting frustrated. This scientist was a member of his church choir, and he kept dropping the bookmarks stuck in his hymnal. What he needed was something that would stick without being too sticky–something just like that weak glue his colleague had accidentally created. In 1980 the Post-it Note became an official product and a huge hit.
The Post-it note is among the top 5 selling office supplies in the US, and it’s evolved over time.
The three-by-three-inch (7.6-by-7.6-centimeter) pad has also evolved over time and now comes in eight sizes, 25 shapes and 62 colors, including the original Canary Yellow, sold in 150 countries.
It has also kept a steady eye on the future. With environmental sensibilities on the rise, 3M launched this year a new product line, the Post-it Greener Note, engineered with a plant-based adhesive and 100 percent recycled paper.