I'm not going to lie: I have an addiction to Post-It Notes. I use them for reminders of the music that's on my iPod Shuffle, make lists of people to call, jot down tasks to complete at work, and even scribble down self-motivators (the one hanging from my right computer monitor says "You CAN do this.") I'm surrounded by them — in my room, in my desk drawer, and strangely enough, in my wallet. On top of that, I own a Post-It Note calendar. My allegiance to the 3M product runs deep. But it wasn't until its 30th birthday that I knew the true origin on the canary yellow sticky pad.
The invention of the popular office supply started when British ex-pat Geoff Nicholson took up a job with 3M in 1963. He became intrigued by his coworker, Spencer Silver, and his formula for a strong adhesive. Nicholson convinced Silver that his invention was worthwhile, but they must not tell their bosses.
Patrick Barkham of The Guardian filled me in on the rest:
Another colleague, Art Fry, came up with the idea of using the adhesive in a notepad, and began using the notes to mark pages of a hymn book. Nicholson distributed samples around the office for colleagues to try and they quickly inundated his secretary with requests for more. She marched up to Nicholson and told him: "Do you want me to be your secretary or your distributor? I can't do both jobs!"
Nicholson's marketing director still wasn't buying the idea, of paying money for scraps of paper. But his coworkers were on board. Once the boss received requests for Post-It Notes, the rest was history.
Take a look at the Post-It Note site (and video above), and it's safe to say that they have come along way. Super-Sticky notes, tabs for books, name badges, and my new favorite — the slightly unnecessary, but extremely amusing Post-It Note gun. If these things ever go the way of Polaroid film, trust me, I will be one of the first labeling freaks to hoard them off eBay.