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5 Things (We Think) You Don’t Know About... Sticky Notes

Article October 14, 2020

Article

Post-its, stickies, yellow notes, sticky notes,... No matter what you call them, you probably go through several of these colored bits of paper a day for use as quick notes, messages, or bookmarks. But what do you really know about them?

1. Tearing one off isn’t rocket science. Or is it?

Before you read one word about sticky notes, watch this video. Yes, you. It’s mandatory.

So. Even if the right way to peel a post-it is the only thing you remember from this article, it will still radically improve your (office) life. You’re welcome. 

2. When Failure Goes Right

Just like with other absolutely crucial human inventions, like penicillin, post-it blocks were actually created by mistake. And also by a doctor. Specifically Dr. Spencer Silver, a researcher at the American manufacturer 3M. In 1968, he was working hard on inventing a super-sticky glue. He didn’t quite succeed.

For many years, he made zero headway at 3M with the light glue mix he’d discovered, even though it left no marks and could even be re-used. It was only thanks to his colleague Art Fry that he found an application for it.

Mr. Fry needed an effective bookmark for his psalm book. And that’s when a little light turned on in Spencer’s head. Post-it note blocks then appeared in stores after some time – in 1977.

Incidentally, the iconic yellow color is also a matter of accident. The only paper cuttings in the lab next door at the time were yellow. Currently 3M’s portfolio sports over twenty colors.

Art Fry (Source: Wikipedia)

3. A Devilish Record

When it comes to the Guinness Book of Records, sticky notes awaken in people an insurmountable desire to stick them to their faces. One young lady in Iowa is a six-year holder of the record for the largest number of Post-its stuck to one’s face in 60 seconds. She’s managed 60, and a great video has come out of it too.

The 30-second limit has been mastered by the Italian Silvio Sabba, with a count of 38. It’s too bad he couldn’t hold out longer.

4. Pic-it

Artistically inclined people have taken note of these sticky squares too. For example Shay Hovell has reproduced the Mona Lisa using an unbelievable 12,000 of them.

Apparently the world’s most expensive Post-it is the work of the artist RB Kitaj. He sketched a face on one of them, named it “After Rembrandt,” and sold it at a charity auction in 2000 for 640 pounds (19,200 CZK at the current rate).

If you have a similarly artistic soul at your office, grab your sticky blocks and get to work together on the nearest wall. 3M can even advise you directly on how to do it.

5. An App Worth Noting

Adhesive paper squares have held their place on the market for over 40 years. But do they have any sort of future in a digital age? Last year, 3M provided its own answer in the form of a free Post-it app

This app converts handwritten notes on paper into digital form. Thanks to its compatibility with other applications, your brainstorming can continue even outside the meeting room. It’s not for nothing that the Post-it app earned Google Play’s Best of 2019 award.

#INDISPENSABLES – The series about must-have items from your workplace

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