Chemist who co-invented Post-it Notes dies at home in St. Paul

He developed an adhesive that could stick to paper – repeatedly – without damaging the paper.
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Spencer Silver

The chemist who co-invested the Post-it Note died at his home in St. Paul on Saturday, May 8. 

Spencer Silver passed away at age of 80, according to a news release from 3M Company. Silver helped co-invent Post-it Notes when in 1968 he came up with an adhesive that was "strong enough to hold paper together but could also be removed and would stick again – repeatedly – without damaging the paper," the release says. 

Six years later his colleague at 3M, Art Fry, developed the idea for what would ultimately become the Post-it Note. Fry's goal at the time, according to 3M, was to "prevent paper bookmarks from falling out of his hymnal when he sang in church."

And just like that the Post-it Note was born. 

“Spence was a remarkable man who I’m proud to have known and called a friend and mentor,” said John Banovetz, 3M’s executive vice president. “He epitomized the 3M approach to R&D – science driven, collaborative, creative, and making an impact in the world.”

His obituary describes him as a passionate man who loved to cook and travel. 

"He lived life to the full, enjoying expedition travels abroad and, especially, exploring the English countryside with his wife of 56 years, Linda," it reads. 

Silver retired from 3M in 1996, having earned 37 patents during his illustrious career. 

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