facts about the invention of
Liquid Paper by Bette
Nesmith Graham in 1951.
|You know that white stuff
you paint on paper to cover mistakes? It was originally called "mistake out" and
was the invention of Bette Nesmith Graham, a divorcee who went to work in 1951 to support
herself and her son.
found work as a typist, she unfortunately wasn't a very good one and developed a white
tempura paint to hide her mistakes. Using her kitchen and garage as laboratory and
factory, she gradually developed a product that other secretaries and office workers began
to buy. While continuing to work as a secretary, she educated herself in business methods,
promotion, and research until she was satisfied that the product she had developed was
really worthwhile. She then offered Mistake Out to IBM which turned it down.
|Undaunted, Bette Graham
changed the name from Mistake Out to Liquid Paper and kept selling it from her
kitchen-garage for the next 17 years. By 1968 she was making a profit. And in 1979, the
Gillette Corporation bought Liquid Paper for $47.5 million plus royalties. She was also
the mother of Michael Nesmith, a member of The Monkees.
TO LEARN MORE :
of Office Equipment from The Great Idea Finder
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Happen: 50 Inventions Discovered by Mistake
by Charlotte Foltz Jones, John O'Brien (Illustrator) / Hardcover - 86 pages
(1996) / Delacorte
Fifty inventions discovered by mistake serious subjects which will delight and
Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women
by Catherine Thimmesh, Melissa Sweet (Ill) / Hardcover - 64 pages (2000) /
A dozen women are profiled in this collection of short, anecdotal
biographies demonstrating that necessity, ingenuity, and luck all play a part in
successful inventions. The final section tells girls how to patent their inventions, and
an informed bibliography will do just that.
Why Didn't I Think of That?: Bizarre
Origins of Ingenious Inventions We Couldn't Live Without
by Allyn Freeman, Bob Golden (Contributor) /
Paperback - 224 pages (1997) / John Wiley & Sons
Inventions chronicles the odd origins of famous products,
explores how these inventions changed our lives, and reveals the business side of their
production and distribution.
& Their Discoveries
by Ethlie Ann Vare, Greg Ptacek / Hardcover / Oliver Press - 1993
Interesting facts about 10 obscure American women who invented famous things fill the
pages of this very readable book. Each informative chapter is devoted to the life of one
Linda Jacobs Altman / hardcover - 128 pages / Facts on File, Inc. - 1997
This innovative collection in the American Profiles series focuses on the history of the
process of invention as told through the accomplishments of ten notable women.
and Inventors: A Science Puzzle Book
Jacquelyn A. Greenblatt / Paperback - 96 pages / Goodyear Pub Co. - 1998
These 42 challenging puzzles spotlight the contributions of important women scientists and
inventors from ancient times to the present. Short narratives focus on the science behind
the discoveries, and the puzzles reveal the women behind these incredible achievements.
ON THE WEB:
Dimension - Inventor of the Week
Celebrates inventor/innovator role models through outreach activities and annual
awards to inspire a new generation of American scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
Featured Bette Nesmith Graham (1924-1980) for her invention of Liquid Paper.
of Liquid Paper
In 1980, she sold her company for $47.5 million. Graham died six months later.
Liquid Paper Timeline
The History of Liquid Paper At the PaperMate Web site.
Bette Nesmith Graham
It was originally called "mistake out" and was the invention of Bette
Nesmith Graham, a secretary in Dallas and a single mother raising a son.
Solution to a Problem
In 1951, Bette was working as a secretary using the new IBM electric
typewriters. When she tried to erase her mistakes with a pencil eraser,
her work looked smudged and messy.
Liquid Paper Art
Pen, liquid paper on paper.
Who Invented Liquid Paper? (Site removed.)
DID YOU KNOW?:
- Mike Nesmith, a member of the fabulous 60s rock band The
Monkees, is her son.
Sources in BOLD Type
page revised February, 2005.
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