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History and Evolution of Post-It Notes

History and Evolution of Post-It Notes

3m post it notes on deskIn today’s world it’s practically impossible to imagine a life without Post-It notes. As difficult as that is to imagine, Post-It notes have only been a fixture in the home and office for 43 years since their debut in 1977, they’re a pretty modern invention. Like many inventions from the 20th century and some of history’s most groundbreaking discoveries, Post-It Notes came about by way of accident, or so the story goes.

The official account on 3M’s website essentially maintains that a 3M scientist, Dr. Silver, had made an interesting discovery with new adhesives. Dr. Silver’s goal had been to develop stronger adhesives, and somehow he managed to create something that was – in part – the complete opposite. He ended up making Acrylate Copolymer Microspheres which were seen as not useful by management because of the adhesive’s apparent weakness. Even Dr. Silver was hard pressed to come up with a use for a relatively weak adhesive. Despite this, he still had a passion for sharing his discovery, because who wouldn't be excited about something they'd discovered? In the course of sharing his discovery, a colleague named Art Fry came across Silver’s invention.

Post it note pixel artFry’s contribution to the invention of Post-It Notes is that he had been using slips of paper to mark pages in his hymnal during choir practice. He’d mark a page only to find the paper had fallen out later when he'd most needed it to be there. There had to be a better way to mark pages, perhaps something sticky, but not so sticky it would ruin pages. Upon attending one of Silver’s seminars, Fry had what he calls a “eureka moment” and they worked together to develop the new product that would become Post-It notes. In addition to using them to mark pages, the two found themselves using the new product to pass notes to each other and discovered that the Post-It note had more potential than first thought. They used the Post-It notes around 3M and it became quite a popular item. With a seeming hit on their hands, they got 3M to market it outside where it continued building momentum. Despite the popularity though, Post-It Notes had some obstacles to overcome, namely that they needed to make new and expensive equipment to facilitate mass production. That initial investment has obviously paid off. If you’re curious about the general information about how Post-It Notes are made, you can learn a bit about that here.

Although initially a new method of communication for offices, Post-It Notes found innumerable uses at home and literally everywhere else. You can and have probably come up with dozens of uses in your own home. Here are a few suggestions, lifehacks, and clever uses for Post-It Notes that you might never have thought of. On top of that, Post-It note pixel art is somewhat popular on the web, 3M gives some tips here for how to do it right. Other artists use Post-It notes as a canvas. With social media as a place to share this art, Post-It Notes have definitely been used in ways their creators never even dreamed of.

Post-It Notes started from an adhesive that was too weak to be of obvious use, it has grown to something that is a fixture in any situation you can imagine in the world. 3M has also updated the Post-It Note for the 21st century with an app that helps you keep your notes in order and group them together. It also helps you save the information on the notes for when you inevitably have to take them down. It’s available in Google Play and the Apple store. It's relatively easy to use, there are some changes that could make it better, but overall it's a good app that can help you stay organized.

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