Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Mieography

This one is short, because frankly, I don't feel well.

Bette Clair McMurray was born in Dallas Texas, in 1924. She dropped out of high school and married Warren Nesmith, before he left for World War II, but they were divorced by 1946. He had abandoned his family. They had one son, Michael, whom she had sole custody of. Needing to support them, she got a job as a bank secretary, and rose to the level of Executive Secretary. She had always intended to be an artist, but you do what you have to do to support your family.
She was having a hard time making ends meet, so she made extra money painting windows at the bank. She was also having a difficult time correcting mistakes she made using her electric typewriter. While she was painting a window, she had an epiphany, about how an artist corrects their errors by painting over the error, not erasing it. So, she took some tempera water based paint in a bottle, (which she had mixed up in her kitchen blender) and started using it to correct her mistakes. She used this, secretly, for five years, and made some improvements on the recipe with the help of her son's chemistry teacher. Some of her bosses admonished her for using it, but her co workers frequently asked her if they could use it, too. In 1956 she began marketing the the stuff, calling it "Mistake Out". The name was later changed to Liquid Paper when she started her own company. She was using her own kitchen as a laboratory, and mixing the product now in her electric mixer. She was using this to try and make money, on the side. She ended up making a mistake at work that she couldn't correct, and got fired. She then had the opportunity to devote all her time to Liquid Paper, and the business took off. By 1967 it was a million dollar business. She finally moved into her own plant in 1968.
In 1979, she sold Liquid Paper, for 47.5 million dollars. She died in 1980, at the young age 56. She left half her money to her son, Michael, (whom some of you may know as Mike Nesmith, of Monkee fame..) and used the remainder to finance the "Council on Ideas", a think tank devoted to exploring world problems. She believed money to be a tool, not a solution to a problem.


Anonymous said...

Interesting how attitudes toward new ideas are rarely accepted. I had always heard this story but never knew if it was true. Good one.

sybil law said...

Short one, but great one! I love it. :)
Hope you feel better.

Finding Pam said...

What an amazing story. I hope you are feeling better too.

NanaKaos said...

It was one of the greatest things to come along, in the life the of secretaries everywhere. However, I did know a girl who used so much,I mean whole paragraphs, that her boss took her bottle away . She was working at the Social Security Office, they thought her work could be "cleaner". Thank goodness for computers! There is a joke, but I won't go there.

Daryl said...

I had no idea .. I think I thought Wite.Out which I was sure was its name before Liquid Paper was a 3M product .. another new fact learned!

AHA .. turns out Wite.Out is BIC's version .. I guess we used the cheaper brand back when we used this pre-word processors/computers

Anonymous said...

Awesome story. I love that she left half her money to a think tank.

Feel better soon.