History of the 3M™ Corporation

When people ask for what brand of tape they should use, many find a solution in 3M™ products. This can be attributed to 3M™ being around for more than a century, with innovative products such as Scotch® tape and Post-it® Notes. Adhesive products may have given 3M™ its popularity, but these giants of transparent tape didn't stop there. 3M™ has developed numerous products in several different fields, ranging from sandpaper to pharmaceuticals. Below is a timeline reflecting back on 3M™'s many inventions and achievements that have made projects much easier for people all over the world:

    3M Write-on Marker Dispenser
  • 1902- Five men in the Lake Superior town of Two Harbors, Minnesota set out looking to mine a certain type of mineral deposits to use as an adhesive for grinding-wheels, which led to the birth of the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. (3M™). However mining turned out to be of little use, and after its failed attempt with the mineral deposit, the company decided to move its location to nearby Duluth, to focus on sandpaper manufacturing. A few years of struggle ensued until 3M™ was finally able to master the quality of their production lines, and create a successful supply chain.

  • 1910- Lucius Ordway, an investor attracted to 3M™'s growing success, moved the company to St. Paul, Minnesota.

  • 1916- Thanks to early technical and marketing innovations, 3M™  was able to grow from a small company into a corporation, and paid its first dividend of 6 cents a share

  • 1920- 3M™ created the world's first waterproof sandpaper, which became popular in automobile manufacturing for its reduction of airborne particles during sanding.

  • 1925- A young lab assistant by the name of Richard G. Drew gave 3M™ its start as a household name when he invented a clear masking tape that would eventually lead to hundreds of particle uses. The development of masking tape would soon lead to the launch of the popular brand of tape know as Scotch® tape.

  • 1940s- With World War II raging on, 3M™ decided to divert its efforts into defense materials, and eventually led to products such as Scotchlite™ Reflective Sheeting used for highway marking, magnetic sound recording tape, and filament adhesive tape. 3M™ also extended its reaches into the graphic arts industry with a line of offset printing plates.

  • 3M FireBlock Sealant
  • 1950s- 3M™ continued to diversify the company with products such as Thermo-Fax™ copying process, Scotch-Brite® Cleaning Pads, Scotchgaurd® Fabric Protector, videotape, and electro-mechanical products.

  • 1960s- Many new products where introduced to the public, such as dry-silver microfilms, photographic products, overhead projectors, and carbonless paper. At the same time 3M™, had begun to expand their product lines by reaching into the rapidly growing healthcare industry, with research and development of new medical and dental products.

  • 1970's through the 1980's- Always looking for ways to further extend its markets, 3M™ set their sights on fields such as pharmaceuticals, radiology, and energy control.

  • 1980- 3M™ developed the Post-it® Note, a product that would forever change the way people organize their thoughts and to-do-lists, at home or in the office.

  • 1990s- Introduced an array of innovative products from 3M™, such as brightness enhancement films for monitors and televisions; immune response modifier pharmaceuticals, and flexible circuits used for many different electronics devices, like cell phones and inkjet printers. The 1990s also marked 3M™'s achievement of $15 billion in sales; by the year 2004, 3M™ reached over $20 billion in sales.

  • 2000 to present- 3M™ continues to lead at the fore front of innovation with new products in fire protection, high-definition video cables, and fiber optic patch cables, while continuing to grow the Scotch®, 3M™ Command Strips, and Post-it® brand names with products such as Post-it® Super Sticky Notes, Scotch® Transparent Duct Tape, and a new line of Scotch-Brite® Cleaning Products.

While it started off as a small company in Great Lakes region, 3M™ has grown into a worldwide corporation with companies in over 60 countries. Today, 3M™ strives to earn the admiration of everyone associated with the corporation, by valuing and respecting their investors, environment, and employees, as well as providing over 75,000 jobs to local citizens, less than 300 of whom work in locations outside their residential hometowns.