Post-it notes were invented by Arthur Fry, working for the company 3M, in 1974. By accident, a few years before, Fry’s colleague Spencer Silver had discovered a very weak glue that was reusable and easily removed from paper without leaving a mark. Silver tried to think of a use for his seemingly useless glue, but couldn’t.
Eventually, Arthur Fry came up with an idea for using the glue while he was at church one Sunday. He needed to mark his place in his hymnbook and thought how handy it would be if the bookmark stuck to the page but could then be removed easily. He developed the idea, and quickly discovered that Post-it notes were useful not only as bookmarks but for all sorts of other things too.
Post-its went on sale for the first time in 1980 and now you’ll find them stuck all over the place. Since they’re so useful, it seems strange that it took so long to come up with them.
AND DON’T FORGET IT. Post-it notes help us to remember so many things that we would otherwise forget and get in trouble for – and they’ve made our books and desks a lot more colorful. But here are a few other things that your Post-it notes can be used for:
POST-IT ART. Post-it notes are great for producing mini works of art. The best thing is that you don’t need nails to hang your picture, just stick your art to the wall in the safe knowledge that you won’t ruin the wallpaper when you take it down. Place your favorite Post-it note art here. A piece of art on a Post-it note by artist R. B. Kitaj sold for £640 in December 2000. Maybe you could sell yours. What is the title of your Post-it note art? How much do you think it’s worth?
Give each player a Post-it and write the name of a famous celebrity on it without anyone seeing. When everyone has written down a name, stick yours to the forehead of the person next to you.
Each person asks questions in turn to find out who is on their forehead. The other players can only answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The winner is the one who guesses the name on their Post-it in the fewest guesses.
How long did it take you to draw? Take note: In 1986, Andy Rourke, the bass guitarist in The Smiths, was sacked by Post-it note. It was left on his car windscreen by the lead singer. The note read: ‘Andy, you have left The Smiths. Good luck and goodbye, Morrissey.’
POST-IT NAUGHTY. How sneaky are you? Try to stick a Post-it note to someone’s back without them knowing. What did you write on the note?
THE POST-IT GAME
Paper clips. If you use Post-it notes, you probably use paper clips too. Johann Vaaler, who patented a paper clip design in 1899, is usually credited with their invention, but various forms of wire paper clip have been around since 1867.
The paper clip design we know today was patented by Henry Lankenau in 1934, although a very similar design called the Gem, which was never patented, has been around since the early 1890s.