Sticky notes are one of the staples of the modern office environment. Taking their place alongside the pens and the notebooks, they occupy the very heart of stationery cupboards up and down the land.

They’re useful for all manner of office tasks, from taking notes and leaving reminders for people, to reviewing documents and capturing ideas. We would be lost without them. But where did they come from and who invented them?

A Happy Accident

Believe it or not, sticky notes may owe their creation to an accident. In 1968, a scientist named Dr Spencer Silver working at the 3M company in the United States of America, was working on developing a new super-strong adhesive.

What he actually succeeded in creating was a reusable, pressure sensitive adhesive, the type of which you know from your modern day sticky notes.

Trying to Find a Market

Dr Silver then spent years pitching this invention to colleagues within his organisation, but struggled to find an audience or a market for his “solution without a problem”. Then, in 1974, Art Fry, a colleague of Dr SIlver’s, came up with the idea of using this product as a way to fix his bookmark in his hymn book.

3M launched their sticky notes in 1977, but they sold poorly until a giveaway campaign in Idaho led to a surge in interest. Rebranded as ‘Post-It’s’, they were launched again in 1979, and remain largely unchanged today.

The Sticky Truth?

However, a competing claim to be the inventor of the sticky note has been made by the American inventor Alan Amron. He claimed he invented them in 1973 and pitched his idea to 3M in 1974. In 1997, Amron took his case to the courts and received a payout from 3M.

Like the notes themselves then, it seems the truth can be a sticky business! Thankfully, these days there are all sorts of custom and standard adhesive notes available. Speak to our friendly team for more information on the notes we have available here in New Zealand!