Thursday, March 10, 2016

Does the name Smith-Corona ring a carriage return bell?

If so, then you remember life before word processors. If you typed a report for school or a letter at the office, a typo often meant retyping the entire page! That's how it was when Warren Nesmith came home to his wife Bette after fighting in WWII. Bette was an aspiring artist and loved to paint, but when she and Warren divorced in 1946, she had to support herself and her son, so she studied typing and shorthand. In 1951, Bette Nesmith Graham found work as an executive secretary at a bank.
She was a good secretary, but not much of a typist, and she was tired of trying to erase mistakes, so one night in her kitchen, using her beloved paints, she concocted a quick-drying white paste she called "Mistake Out" With a tiny brush, she could paint away mistakes and type over them! Soon other secretaries at the bank asked for Mistake Out, and by 1957 she was selling up to 25 bottles each week from home. That's when she renamed her product "Liquid Paper."

A decade later, Liquid Paper was in such demand that Bette had to build a factory. She insisted the factory include a child care center and a library, and used her profits to set up two foundations to help women find new ways to earn a living. By 1980, Liquid Paper had 200 employees and was selling more than 25 million bottles per year. That's when Gillette bought the company from Bette for a cool $47.5 million. By all accounts, her inventiveness, management skill and concern for women were influenced by her Christian Science faith.

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