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The names "Post-it" and "Post-it note", as well as the color canary yellow are trademarks of 3M, the company that invented and manufactures them. Generic terms for competitors include "sticky notes" or "repositionable / repositionable notes."
The original adhesive used in Post-it notes was invented in 1968 by Spencer Silver, a 3M researcher. While attempting to design a strong adhesive, he instead developed an adhesive that was very weak. No immediate application was apparent, until 1974 when a colleague, Arthur Fry, conceived of using the adhesive to create bookmarks while contemplating a hymnal in his church choir. Initial prototypes were available in 1977, and by 1980-1981, after a large sampling campaign, the product had been introduced around the world, being produced exclusively in Kentucky.
The original run of post-it notes were used as bookmarks for the hymnal. The remainder was shown to 3M marketing dept. that rejected them as useless. At that point Art Fry looked for further investors and a consortium he found in proxies for Raymond Howard of Redlands Ca. whom in 1978 acquired a small fortune from the Gene Roddenberry Estate for having formatted Star Trek with Gene Roddenberry in 1964 at the age of seven. Raymond Howard suggested that the hymnals as 3M saw them was a very limited market. But he knew a girl who had Asperger's Syndrome and whose husband had to post with scotch tape and 3 X 5s menus for her to follow. If 3 X 3s were produced with Silver's product they would serve better for product distribution as "post-it notes!" Ray Howard suggested distribution via telephone conferencing was that the products be "cold call marketed" so that stores acquiring the product would only order per their demand. Within 3M the demand was immediate.