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Divine inspiration behind Post-it Notes
04:11 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

More than 50 billion of 3M's Post-it notes are sold every year

Hit product reached market 12 years after it was invented

3M employee, Art Fry realized potential of Post-it Notes in church

Once the product was released in 1980, it spread "like a virus," he recalls

St Paul, Minnesota CNN  — 

It’s been described as the solution to a problem nobody realized existed.

But that hasn’t stopped the humble Post-it Note from becoming a ubiquitous fixture of stationery cupboards worldwide, with manufacturers 3M producing 50 billion each year.

The sticky yellow squares did not always look destined to set the office supply world alight. In fact, it took 12 years from when the technology behind the product was first developed, to Post-its hitting the market.

The story of the Post-it – the self-attaching note that adheres in such a way that it can be removed without causing damage – begins in 1968.

Spencer Silver, a chemist for the giant multinational Minnesotan company 3M, was attempting to develop a better adhesive.