Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Birth of 3M

Two Harbors is the place where 3M was founded. Don't know 3M -- bet you will recognize some of these products.

The story is that a group of business men went together to make a company to mine corundum. They purchased land believed to have corundum and built a processing plant. Only when all of this was done and the product shipped to the first buyer did they get a geologist report pointing out the mine was producing a different mineral, totally unuseful.

This story is told in the building in Two Harbors in which the company first had its office. I went to visit here later in the afternoon after completing a 10 K walk in Two Harbors, reported in a previous post.

 This building is now a historic site and operated as a small museum.

I learned what saved the company was the invention of Wetordry sandpaper.

Above is a roll of this paper, used to polish the finishes on cars. A nearby sign said 3M has protected the patent/copyright on this sandpaper for 75 years.

The ceiling above in this room is decorated with pieces of various sandpapers made by 3M.

In the museum I learned of two products that surprised me.

The boots worn by the astronaut on the moon were made by 3M.

Another product is stickers to put on butterflies to track their migration.

I placed my first finger by the stickers in order to give those who see this picture a reference for how small are these stickers.

In another room in the building there is a display about 3M international presence. A large sign lists the various countries in which 3M does business and the date it began in each country. With my interest in Central Europe I looked for those countries.

An interesting place to visit -- and I'd never thought about why the street by 3M in Saint Paul was called McKnight. Turns out McKnight was president of 3M for many years.

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