The History of Technology in the Workplace
If you could step back in time, you would discover many inventions that have impacted most offices. While technology in the office is commonplace today, early offices were filled with technology that is seen as commonplace today. Learn about some of these developments still impacting offices today.
American leather tanner John Loud created one of the first ballpoint pens. Loud received over 350 patents for his pen that held a reservoir of ink to write on leather hides, but none of them were ever a commercial success. Ladislas and Georg Biro are credited with creating the first ballpoint pen to write on paper. In 1945, officials with the United States government saw the pen and begged manufacturers to produce it. Initially, they had trouble finding a manufacturer, but finally, the Eberhard Faber Company agreed. The first American store to sell a ballpoint pen was New York’s Gimbels Department Store, which took out a full-page ad in the New York Time’s the day before to introduce the idea to the public. They sold 10,000 pens in one day.
Many projects have been saved with Liquid Paper in the days before computers made reprinting paper easy. It was in an act of desperation, however, that allowed for this invention. Bette Nesmith Graham had to support herself as a typist after getting divorced, but she was not very good at it. Working late into the night, she learned to use white tempera paint to cover up her mistakes. After experimenting in her garage and kitchen, Graham finally perfected the product, offering it to IBM for a modest fee. The company turned it down, but Graham went on to sell it to the Gillette Corporation for $47.5 million plus royalties.
Almost everyone has left a message on a Post-It Note or used it to mark their place in a book, but these popular pieces of paper were actually developed by mistake. 3M researchers Spencer Silver was charged with creating a stronger adhesive, but what he actually created was even weaker than what the company was currently using. While Silver went back to the lab, one of his colleagues had a problem keeping his place in a songbook. Then, the colleague hit on an idea. He used some of Silver’s adhesive on the back of papers and stuck them in his songbook. Later, he was able to lift the papers without hurting the pages, and the idea of Post-It Notes was born.
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