Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cover That Mistake...!

Many of the things we take for granted everyday actually have an interesting beginning. We've seen that before here!

However, this particular item (probably used by a lot of us) is surprising. The reason for the surprise is why someone didn't think of it sooner! Pretty cool that the inventor was a woman, but everybody knows that women are smarter than the average guy, right? RIGHT?
In A Nutshell

Bette Nesmith Graham, an executive secretary for a bank chairman, saw a need and filled it—she invented liquid paper, which would make the lives of office workers and students everywhere more manageable (and make her rich). Her background as an artist gave her inspiration to paint over mistakes.

The Whole Bushel

By the age of 27, Bette Nesmith Graham had achieved the position of executive secretary to the Chairman of the Board of the Texas Bank and Trust—no mean feat, considering it was 1951. But Bette was smarter than most, having dropped out of high school in favor of secretarial trade classes when she was 17, and she came up with a solution to a nagging problem that would make her tenure as executive secretary a short one.

The problem was electric typewriters. Though they made loading paper and typing both faster and more efficient, mistakes were much harder to correct the old way (with a pencil eraser). The use of carbon ribbons meant that rub-outs often left ugly black smears across the document. Bette, who liked to draw and paint in her spare time, wondered why she couldn’t simply paint over her mistakes.

In her blender at home, she mixed up the first batch of a white, quick-drying, water-based tempera paint that she called “Mistake Out.” It worked just as it does today, and of course the others in her secretarial pool wanted to know where they could get some. It very quickly turned into a side business that took up so much of her time, it resulted in her getting fired from her job within the year. It didn’t really matter though—Bette’s product was selling like hotcakes.

Patented, trademarked, and renamed “Liquid Paper” in 1958, Bette’s company was selling a million units per year by 1967, and she sold it to the Gillette Company shortly before her death in 1980, for $47.5 million. Among the earliest employees at her home-based operation was her young son, Michael Nesmith, who would later achieve fame as guitarist for the legendary pop band The Monkees.

I wish I could take the credit for finding all this information by myself, but the truth is that I "borrowed" it from the folks over at KnowledgeNuts. Pop over there if you get a chance and see all the great information they have!

Coffee out on the patio this morning! We got some rain yesterday, so watch for the puddles, OK?

13 comments:

Chickenmom said...

Good one Mr. Hermit! I still use Liquid Paper - it is perfect for touching up those little scratches on my white fridge, washing machine and dryer! Did a whole bunch of peaches yesterday so I'll bring a couple of jars to the patio for all to enjoy.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
Comes in handy for so many things! Like Duck Tape!

I appreciate you coming over this morning!

thecottagebythecranelaketwo said...

One of the best inventions ever, I'm not a good type writer so I've used that a lot back in the days when we still had electric type writers. I guess there's less use of it today since we have spelling programs on our computers.

Have a great day!
Christer.

Stephen said...

I've used many a bottle.

Chickenmom said...

Goodness! lotsa early risers this morning! I'm on my second pot of coffee already!

Rob said...

2nd pot of coffee? I remember those days.... my coffee intake was measured by the gallon. These days it's 2 cups in the morning (I'm up early too).

Mr Hermit, that was a great tidbit of history! Not only did we learn where & how that miracle substance came from (I saw a typewriter in an antique shop the other day..)but we learned that she lost her day job marketing it! As a plus you got to talk about The Monkees in it too!

linda m said...

I don't know how we ever got along without Liquid Paper. One of the best inventions ever!!! I had heard this story a number of years ago when my hubby was researching the group, The Monkees and came across this info about Mike Nesmith's mother. It is a staple in my house hold along with duct tape. Coffee on the patio sounds great to me.

JO said...

What an interesting story. Used plenty of it in my working days too. It also came out in yellow for the legal pads and paper.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I wonder if they still sell that stuff? She was a sharp lady for sure.

deborah harvey said...

hi. i love puzzle books but i see better if i use ink, not pencil. there is always a bottle of that stuff nearby so i can correct mistakes and go right on with the puzzle.
when i first started doing diagramless puzzles [my favorite] the page was sometimes almost all liquid paper!!

thanks for the info, mr. hermit

deb harvey

deborah harvey said...

hi. i love puzzle books but i see better if i use ink, not pencil. there is always a bottle of that stuff nearby so i can correct mistakes and go right on with the puzzle.
when i first started doing diagramless puzzles [my favorite] the page was sometimes almost all liquid paper!!

thanks for the info, mr. hermit

deb harvey

Dizzy-Dick said...

It has covered a multitude of mistakes over the years. Not so much now in the computer age where you can proof read your stuff before you print it. Of course I always proof read the hard copy.

HermitJim said...

Hey Christer...
Hope that your stomach is better today!

I think it won't be long until all type writers are considered antiques!

Thanks for coming over today!



Hey Stephen...
So did I, buddy! Many a bottle!

Thanks for dropping by today!



Hey Phyllis...
You must have started a trend! Maybe we just woke everyone up, ya reckon?

Two pots is a good thing!



Hey Rob...
Kinda covered a lot of bases with this one, didn't we?

Guess we are all telling our age a bit with all this talk about typewriters and White out!

Love finding out about this stuff!

Thanks for coming by today!



Hey Linda...
No telling what you will find when doing some research, that's for sure!

Good to have around, without a doubt!

Thanks for the visit this morning!



Hey Jo...
I never knew it came in other colors! See...I learned something new today!

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by this morning!



Hey SunnyBrook...
Yes they do still sell it. I bought some for Mom just the other day!

She was handy to have around, I'll bet!

Thanks for coming by this morning!



Hey Debora...
Mom works her crosswords in pen as well, so the white out is always close!

Thanks for dropping in today!



Hey Dizzy...
Who knows? In 4 or 5 years you may start finding the stuff at the flea market!

Thanks for coming over, buddy!