The Item That Was Invented By A Secretary And Sold For 47 Million Dollars

Liquid paper, or correction fluid, is a type of white paint or ink used to cover up mistakes made while typing on a typewriter or writing. Most students, faculty members, and even business professionals use this to remove errors from papers before they are turned in or submitted.

Interestingly, in 1951, a woman named Bette Nesmith Graham invented liquid paper. At the time, she worked as a secretary for a bank in Dallas, Texas, and she needed a way to cover up her mistakes while typing. She began experimenting with different formulas in her kitchen until she found one that worked well.

Different types of liquid paper

Paper: Liquid is a transparent water-based fluid used to cover a mistake. You can buy it in small bottles. You can remove the lid and apply as many of it as you like. Once the paint dries, you can erase the Mistake and write it over. It is an effortless, quick way to erase mistakes that are usually permanent.

Tape: Corrective Tape is the most accessible form of liquid paper. It is a transparent white tape that you use to cover your Mistake. Using the tape, you can apply pressure to the error and quickly write over it.

Pen: Corrective Pen is another type of liquid paper packaged in a large pen. Make sure to shake the pen before correcting your errors, and let it dry.

Up to this day, many people use Liquid Paper in many forms. Students, professionals, adults, and typists use it, and it is available at grocery stores, stationery stores, Walmart, convenience stores, and supply stores like Staples. So, how did a secretary come to invent such a valuable item?

Who designed Liquid Paper?

The person who invented liquid paper was a woman named Bette Nesmith Graham. She was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1924. Her father passed away when she was only six years old, and her mother struggled to support the family. As a result, Bette had to drop out of school and get a job to help make ends meet. 

At 22, Bette worked as a secretary for Texas Bank and Trust. One day, she made a mistake while typing a letter and didn’t have any way to fix it. In a moment of frustration, Bette grabbed a bottle of gum-based paint, water-based paint, tacky cement tones, etc., from the art supply closet and used it to cover up her Mistake. To perform these maneuvers, she used a mixer in her kitchen. 

The paint worked perfectly and dried quickly; she finished the letter without problems. Bette soon realized that she wasn’t the only person who made mistakes while typing and that there might be a demand for her invention. Together with her brother, she started selling bottles of “Slip up out” out of the trunk of her car.

The product got instant success, and within a few years, Bette had built a small empire. In 1958, Bette renamed her “Liquid Paper” product and started mass-producing it in a factory. Her company quickly grew, and she became a millionaire. In 1979, Bette sold her company to Gillette for 47 million dollars. Yes, you read it well – 6 zeroes. She died of cancer in 1980, but her invention is still used by people worldwide.

Fascinating facts about Bette Nesmith:

Bette Nesmith was born in 1924 and raised in Dallas, Texas. She had to drop out of school. After creating liquid paper, Ms. Bette was made a leader valued at $25 million. During the production, she began tracking them to avoid the consequences of her mistakes. She needed to find a way to either get rid of them or fix them. And so, the idea of the liquid paper was born!

Bette’s other information was:

  • When she was 30, she started working at Texas Bank, earning $300 monthly.
  • Bette’s profession enabled her to support her family and fulfill her obligations.
  • Bette was the first to use printed materials on paper for her mistakes before word processors like MS Word and typewriters.
  • Nesmith’s dumb mistakes were minimized, provided she didn’t repeat them.
  • Bette might be able to control her nerves by not noticing common blunders, such as a pen running out of ink.
  • Bette’s company continued to produce and sell her invention even after her death.
  • Bette’s brother, Mike Nesmith, was in the Air Force when he got wind of his sister’s invention. He quit the Air Force and became Bette’s business partner.
  • Bette took typing and shorthand courses in high school but never graduated because she had to drop out and get a job to help support her family.
  • Bette’s mother, Katherine Nesmith, was a school teacher and her father, Albert Graham, was an accountant. 

Intriguing Information about Liquid Paper:

These are some of the current facts about liquid paper.

  • It is still in use up to this day, more than 50 years after its creation.
  • You can fix mistakes on paper with less effort and more time.
  • The rectification liquid typically has a water base.
  • Their first sale of Liquid Paper is in Dallas, specifically in a stationery store.
  • Bette made the first batch of Mistake Out in her kitchen using water-based paint and an anti-misting ingredient.
  • Ms. Bette was a substitute secretary and created the system all by herself.
  • Ms. Bette lost her job after the liquid paper she had developed was released.
  • The liquid paper sold for $47,000,000.00 in 1979.

How ready was Bette to make a 47 million dollar thing?

Bette forgot to deliver any items that could be sold to someone on the lookout. She was tired of her typical mistakes that made her job more difficult. She was depressed and restless, making losing her job difficult.

Bette tried many different ways to fix her mistakes, but none worked. She discovered an extraterrestrial way to correct errors such as “Which item was invented and sold later for 47 million dollars?” which many people today frequently ask. She used a watercolor brush with white paint and a gum base to create incredibly liquid paper.

Eventually, they revealed that Gillette Corporation offered 47 million dollars to purchase the liquid paper. Bette Nesmith’s son, Michael Nesmith. Being one of the musical group “The Monkees,” he also sees a different side to himself. Bette Nesmith was a Texas Bank secretary, and the liquid paper was her standard remedy liquid and was used to correct typing mistakes. It became a bestseller when marketed.

Bette’s son, Michael, thought his mother’s invention was just a fad and would not last. He was wrong! The product is still around, and people have used it more than 50 years after its creation. The product is still one of the most popular and best-selling products used to fix mistakes on paper. The rectification liquid typically is a water base. There have been many imitations of Liquid Paper over the years, but Bette Nesmith Graham’s original Liquid Paper is still the best!

Final Thoughts

Bette Nesmith Graham was a fantastic woman who overcame many obstacles in her life. She was a single mother who had to drop out of high school to support her family. Despite all this, Bette invented one of the most popular and best-selling products of all time – Liquid Paper. She changed the world with her invention and is an inspiration to us all!

Bette’s story is an inspiring example of the dreams we can accomplish with great ideas and hard work. Despite all the challenges she encountered in her life, she achieved her dream and made a difference in the world. Her example can be a source of inspiration for all, and we strive to reach our goals, no matter how far and challenging they may seem. If you have ever made a mistake while typing or writing, you have Bette to thank! 

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  • About the Curator

    Abelino Silva. Seeker of the truth. Purveyor of facts. Mongrel to the deceitful. All that, and mostly a blogger who enjoys acknowledging others that publish great content. Say hello 🙂

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