From Innovation to Market

You’re the boss! To succeed, you will have to make many different decisions and live with the consequences. Can you bring an innovation to market?

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Sandpaper to Scotch Tape

The 3M Corporation developed Scotch tape through continual experimentation in a series of seemingly unconnected steps. Starting with sandpaper, they omitted the sand, changed base materials and adhesives, and invented masking tape. Changing materials again, they created cellulose tape, and ultimately transparent tape.

Wetordry sandpaper, 1923

Wetordry sandpaper, 1923

Scotch cellulose tape, 1930s

Scotch cellulose tape, 1930s

Scotch Masking Tape, 1940s

Scotch Masking Tape, 1940s

Scotch Magic Transparent Tape, 1960s

Scotch Magic Transparent Tape, 1960s

Inventing Instant Copying

Chester Carlson invented electrostatic copying in 1938. Major corporations rejected his idea, but Carlson found a strong backer in Joseph C. Wilson of Haloid Corporation, later renamed Xerox. In 1959, they released the Xerox 914, the first successful plain paper copier. Unlike most inventors, Carlson became wealthy.

First electrostatic (Xerox) print, 1938

First electrostatic (Xerox) print, 1938

Sensitizing plate, 1938

Sensitizing plate, 1938

Glass plate, 1938

Glass plate, 1938

Pliable Plastics

Earl Tupper, an independent inventor, experimented with flexible plastics for consumer goods. He created his unique re-sealable containers in 1947. In the 1950s, Tupperware came in every possible size and shape, but it was the home party system that made the product a household name.

Experimental plastic bowl, about 1950

Experimental plastic bowl, about 1950

Welcome Ware shaker, 1940s–1950s

Welcome Ware shaker, 1940s–1950s

Pie wedge keeper, 1950s–1960s

Pie wedge keeper, 1950s–1960s

Patent drawing for bowl and cover, 1957

Patent drawing for bowl and cover, 1957

Millionaire “vacu-seal” drink shaker, 1950s

Millionaire “vacu-seal” drink shaker, 1950s

Plastic pellets, 1970s

Plastic pellets, 1970s