It’s not hard to notice the ubiquitous canary yellow Post-Its wherever you go. Whether inside a student’s room or an office, Post-Its are present everywhere whether used as a marker or a note full of reminders. Maybe you even have one posted on the refrigerator door along with kitchen magnets. Every household has a post-it at its disposal, in the same reason that it has cutlery hidden in the kitchen. Opisina.com.ph takes a look behind this beloved invention's past.
Ironically, Post-Its were invented in the unlikeliest place where you’ll probably invent something: the church. This makes it the butt of jokes of chronicler of office history out there who proclaim it as a “miracle” and a “gift from the heavens.” Post-Its were invented accidentally by Art Fry, a 3M scientist who was stuck in a dilemma that indirectly keeps him from performing his job as a choir member smoothly. Fry couldn’t find the perfect anchor to mark chapters in his hymnbook— he initially used bits and pieces of paper a clip to mark pages but they keep falling off. He remembered his colleague Dr. Spencer Silver’s invention, a reusable adhesive that was invented almost six years earlier. Silver, a 3M chemist, invented the reusable adhesive in 1974 and promoted it to his colleagues to no avail. It was eventually shelved by 3M (3M didn’t think it was useful at that time). Fry adopted Silver’s pressure-sensitive adhesive and Post-Its were born.
In 1977, the first bulk of Post-Its was delivered to four cities in the United States and was marketed as “Press n’ Peel” which didn’t exactly pan out. The following year, 3M gave out free samples of Post-Its to citizens on Boise, Idaho as a market trial. Fortunately for the company, 95% of the residents said they’d be happy to buy the product once its out on the market. A similar trial was conducted among secretaries who were given the product for whatever use they can think of. They did came up with a lot of office use for it, and at the end of the trial, they said they’d want to keep the samples. The study proved another market for 3M who can find use of Post-Its.
Two years later, on April 6, 1980, Post-Its were relaunched in the United States as “Post-It Notes.” It was launched in Canada and Europe in 1981. Nine years later, Post-Its landed on the top 5 list of best-selling office products in America. Who would’ve thought a product once dismissed by people could sell millions today?
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