The Little Square That Changed Lives Turns 30

VHS tapes and walkmans may have been firmly cast into oblivion but another 1980s invention, the Post-it Note, is marking its 30th anniversary this month as popular as ever, reports AFP.

The little yellow square of paper that changed lives was actually the product of an engineering mistake by 3M scientists who accidentally stumbled upon an adhesive like none other that could stick and be repositioned on just about any surface.

It has remained among the top five best-selling office supplies in the United States each year ever since.

The three-by-three-inch pad has also evolved over time and now comes in eight sizes, 25 shapes and 62 colors, including the original Canary Yellow, sold in 150 countries.

“It’s one of those things that can’t get any better than it already is,” said Syracuse University professor of popular culture Robert Thompson. “Nothing comes close to replace it, a beep on your phone or a digitalized reminder.”

The sticky pad’s inventors, 3M scientists Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver, were even inducted last month into the National Inventors Hall of Fame alongside the inventors of synthetic diamond and others “responsible for the great technological advances that make human, social and economic progress possible.”

“My guess is people will still be using Post-it notes in a hundred years,” Thompson told AFP. “It represents some things that were very prominent in the 80s: a much more complex life and the desire to control that complexity.”

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