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Spencer Silver

AKA Spencer Ferguson Silver III

Born: 6-Feb-1941
Birthplace: San Antonio, TX

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist, Inventor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Post-It notes

Chemist Spencer Silver worked at Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (now called 3M), where in 1968 he invented a "low tack" adhesive based on acrylate copolymer microspheres, tiny bubbles that kept the glue from bonding firmly. This was considered an odd and rather useless discovery -- the company wanted a stronger adhesive, not a weaker one -- and Silver was soon reassigned to other projects. Six years later he demonstrated his adhesive to colleague Art Fry, who thought of bookmarks that fell out of his church hymnals and solved that problem by making the bookmarks slightly sticky with Silver's adhesive. After that, for several years Silver & Fry made these removable bookmarks for use in their own offices, before convincing executives at 3M's headquarters to try using them in 1977. 3M finally began test marketing "Press 'n' Peel pads" in 1978, and after two more years of market research, the product was formally introduced into American stationery stores as "Post-It notes" on 6 April 1980. Silver filed 22 patents in his career at 3M, and the same adhesive used in Post-Its has been adapted to other products from medical bandages to interior-decorating kits, but he never received any royalties, and retired from 3M in 1996.

Father: Spencer Ferguson Silver, Jr.
Mother: Bernice Lillian Wendt Silver
Brother: Scott Albert Silver (b. 30-Jun-1945)
Wife: Linda Anne Martin Silver (b. 25-Sep-1941, m. 8-Jul-1965, two daughters)
Daughter: Allison Anne Silver Anderson (b. 5-Dec-1966)
Daughter: Jennifer Lynne Silver Nieman (b. 1-Feb-1969)

    University: BS Chemistry, Arizona State University (1962)
    University: PhD Organic Chemistry, University of Colorado (1966)

    3M Chemist (1965-96)



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