Written by a grade 6 student, Sanjana Nayakanti.
Accidental discoveries can be so funny when we think about them later. Here’s a story about an incident – two scientists and, the happy accident of the invention of sticky notes.
The story begins…
Way back in 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a chemist, worked for a famous company, now known as 3M. He was asked to make a super-duper sticky adhesive but, his bad luck, instead of a super sticky adhesive he ended up making a super weak adhesive 😊. Yes, a super weak adhesive! In scientific language, it is called Microspheres Adhesive. A Microspheres Adhesive is an adhesive that will stick easily and can be removed easily. He knew that his adhesive was excellent but had no idea about how to use his invention. A few years later, a use was found.
Enter scientist no. 2
In 1974, another scientist at 3M named Arthur Fry was having a lot of trouble with his bookmarks or the lack of them. The bits of paper he used as bookmarks would go missing or lose their place the next time he opened his book. He was really fed up!
Then, he remembered a seminar where Dr. Spencer talked about his new adhesive. He rushed to Dr. Silver immediately with an idea. They put the adhesive on a piece of paper and then used it as a bookmark. The paper did not fall off and it did not ruin the pages of the book. This gave them another idea. Why only books, these notes could be used on desks as work notes as well! That’s when they realized the true potential of their amazing invention!
They used their offices as the main testing grounds. They shared a bunch of these notes with each employee. Employees loved them and that’s how a new way of communicating was born.
Selling the Invention
In 1977, 3M company published the sticky notes as Press ‘n Peel and sold them to book shops. But, since people had no idea what they were, no one bought these notes. To get people interested, the notes were offered for free. The trick worked. People gave the notes a try and they loved it. There was no looking back. The Sticky Notes had arrived and their popularity spread like wildfire. Today, we know them as Post-it. And why are they yellow in colour? Well, that was an accident too. The team that was making the sticky notes used some leftover canary-yellow paper. This is how Stick Notes were invented.
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