Post-it notes. (Yes seriously, Post-it notes!)
In 1968, while studying adhesives, Spencer Silver failed miserably in his attempt to create the world's strongest glue. The adhesive that he had been developing was discarded when it proved to have a particularly poor sticking power. Spencer Silver must have been 'a bit miffed' to say the least.
Five years later, Arthur Fry developed the idea of using the low tack adhesive as a way of retaining bookmarks in his hymn book while singing in his church choir. Fry's little paper markers had fallen from his hymn book on multiple occasions and Fry wanted something that would stay put but could be easily removed when required. Thus, the Post-it note was invented and Spencer Silver's not-so-sticky glue proved very useful, (and rather lucrative) after all.
Certainly Post-it notes are pretty much indispensable in homes and offices around the world, but is the Post-it note the best patented invention of all time? Heck, probably not ... but I just love what it represents ... that sometimes even the biggest failures can achieve greatness, fame and fortune. And with that in mind, I think there's hope for us all!
Submitted by: Lydia Houghton