Invention of Post It Notes – An Accidental Discovery With a Sticky Past

adhesive patentSometimes an inventor will make a best selling product completely be accident. The Post It Note is an example of that. In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver invented a repositionable adhesive that was strong enough to stick to surfaces but did not leave any residue. Silver had not set out to produce such a glue. He was actually trying to make a very strong adhesive. Patent Number #3691140 for Acrylate Copolymer Microspheres, the adhesive used on Post It Notes was granted to Spencer Ferguson Silver on March 9, 1970. But 3M never utilized this adhesive.

postitsIn 1974, Arthur Fry was looking for a bookmark because he kept losing his page in his church hymnal.  Fry took some of Silver’s adhesive and applied it to the edge of a piece of paper solving his problem and inventing the Post It Now. Arthur Fry noticed that fellow employees were coming to visit him and take some of his “bookmarks” and using them for other purposes. He, then, began, pushing 3M to produce this paper. In 1977, Arthur Fry overcame manufacturing hurdles and 3M began producing Post It Notes. The official launch came in 1978 in Boise, Idaho where 90% of consumers who were given the product said they would buy it. In 1980, Post It Notes were introduced to the entire US. They are now common-place in offices and homes around the world and have even been used to make art projects.