Friday, September 3, 2010
And a Dollar Short
It’s not something I talk about a lot, but I read like a crap load of books. I make small discoveries along the way, some of which I share, because I am a giver. Anyways the need for a reliable bookmark that is cheap and convienient is very real in my day to day life. After much experimentation I finally hit upon using Post-It notes for this job – and they are fantastic. So I was pretty proud of myself until I saw this article on Newsweek’s site. It was a collection of products that were discovered accidently, among which was this entry about Post-It notes:
While the credit for the adhesive belongs to one man, Spencer Silver, the idea for the Post-it note belongs to another: Arthur Fry. In 1968 Silver, a chemist at 3M, created a high-quality, "low-tack" adhesive, which basically means it wasn't very sticky. Silver realized it was ideal for use with paper, because the adhesive was strong enough to hold it to a surface but weak enough that paper could be removed without tearing it. The added bonus: the adhesive remained sticky through multiple uses. In seminars at the office, Silver pitched it as a surface for bulletin boards or as a spray, but after five years of trying, he continued to have difficulty finding a marketable application for it. In attendance at one of these seminars, however, was Art Fry. A colleague at 3M working in the product-development department, Fry sang in his church choir, and the paper bookmarks he used to mark his spot in the hymnal were constantly slipping out. He realized that Silver's adhesive offered a solution, and he wrote a proposal for a sticky, reusable bookmark. The samples he passed around the office were a hit, and after refining the idea, 3M introduced the Post-it nationwide in 1980.
So using them as book marks was their original purpose – I am only 30 years too late. Story of my life.