便利貼:黏東西的最佳幫手

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Post- it Notes: Making the Best of a Sticky Situation

You’ve probably never heard of Art Fry or Spencer Silver. But you’ve definitely heard of, and used, their famous invention. What is it? Possibly the most important office supply product since the paperclip!

Art Fry loved to build things as a child, so it was natural that he study engineering in college. In 1953, while still an undergraduate in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, he found a job as a new product development researcher at 3M—then known as Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing.

Spencer Silver followed a similar path, joining 3M’s Central Research Labs as a chemist in 1966 after studying organic chemistry at the University of Colorado. In 1968, while trying to invent a better adhesive for tape, Silver came up with something truly revolutionary—a reusable adhesive that was sticky enough to hold sheets of paper together, but not sticky enough to make them tear when you pulled them apart. The only thing was, he’d invented a solution without a problem.

Until, that is, Art Fry learned about Silver’s new adhesive at a company seminar five years later. Fry enjoyed singing at church, but he had a problem—the pieces of paper he used to mark his place often fell out when he opened his hymn book. One day, while sitting through a boring sermon, he had his eureka moment: he could use Silver’s adhesive to make a bookmark that would stay in place without damaging the pages.

When Fry passed out these bookmarks to his coworkers, they began using them to write notes on, and the Post-it was born. Introduced in the U.S. in 1980, and Canada and Europe a year later, Post-its can now be found stuck to computers, desks and doors in offices and homes all over the world.

便利貼:黏東西的最佳幫手

你可能從來沒聽過亞瑟傅萊或史賓瑟席佛,可是你一定聽過、也用過他們著名的發明。是什麼呢?那可能是繼迴紋針之後最重要的辦公用品喔!

亞瑟傅萊從小就喜歡做東西,所以上大學很自然就念工程系。一九五三年,當他還是明尼蘇達大學化工系的學生時,他就在 3M 找到了新產品研發人員的工作,當時那家公司不叫 3M,而是明尼蘇達礦業與製造公司。

史賓瑟席佛從業的過程也類似,他從科羅拉多大學有機化學系畢業後,於一九六六年加入 3M 中央研究實驗室擔任化學研究員。一九六八年,席佛正試著發明一種較好的膠帶黏膠,他想出了非常革命性的發明―可重複使用、讓紙張黏在一起,但撕下來卻不會把紙撕破的黏膠。只是,他發明了解決方法,但卻沒有問題好對付。

一直到五年後,亞瑟傅萊在一場公司的研討會得知席佛的新黏膠。傅萊喜歡在教會唱詩歌,可是他有個困擾—每次打開詩歌集,他用來標示位置的紙片就會掉下來。有一天,聽著無聊的佈道時,他突然靈光一現:他可以用席佛的黏膠來做一種可以固定位置、卻不會弄傷書頁的書籤。

當傅萊將這種書籤發給同事時,他們開始在上頭寫筆記,於是便利貼就誕生了。便利貼一九八○年在美國上市,隔年引進加拿大和歐洲,現在世界各地公司和住家的電腦、書桌和門上都可見到它的蹤跡。

【實用字彙】

undergraduate (n.) 大學生
researcher (n.) 研究人員
organic (a.) 有機的
seminar (a.) 研討會
pass out (phr.) 分發

本文取材自《改變人類生活的創意發明Eureka!:EZ TALK總編嚴選特刊

(本文獲EZTALK編輯部授權刊登)

圖片來源:pixabay

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