Throwback Thursday (#TBT): 3M—A Century of Innovation

August 14, 2014 at 6:31 am  •  Posted in Construction, Safety  •  0 Comments


If you use Facebook or Twitter, you’ve probably seen (or used) the hashtag #throwbackthursday. If you didn’t already know, Throwback Thursday (aka #TBT) is a weekly photo movement that’s taken off worldwide. From cute baby pictures to embarrassing high school dance photos, anyone can participate in the Throwback Thursday trend by posting nostalgic content (usually a photo) online.

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Since Throwback Thursday is a regular occurrence, I figured it’s time Graybar partake in the fun. To start, I’ll highlight some good old-fashioned history from one of Graybar’s top manufacturers, 3M. Because we all love that warm and fuzzy feeling of nostalgia.

3M’s History At A Glance

Did you know that 3M invented vinyl electrical tape, masking tape and Post-it® Notes? Here are a few other historical company highlights:

3M was founded in 1902 at the Lake Superior town of Two Harbors, Minnesota, by five businessmen set out to mine a mineral deposit for grinding-wheel abrasives. Later on, the company changed gears (excuse the pun) to focus on other business endeavors.

Early technical and marketing innovations began to produce success for 3M—in 1916, the company paid its first dividend of 6 cents a share. (I wish I could travel back in time to buy a handful of those shares.)3M

3M electrical tapes played a very important role in WWII. Not only were they used to prevent corrosion, and ultimately extend the lifespan of military transformers in warmer climates, but Scotch® Plastic Electrical Tape was used to eliminate the static sound heard over the earphones in Army and Navy airplanes, significantly reducing radio “outing.”

At 3M, the Great American Story is being told every day. For Tabitha Benton, a Vinyl Converting Operator at 3M, that history runs deep. Tabitha says:

“Both of my parents worked at 3M for over 30 years before they retired. We’ve all enjoyed working for 3M.”

Here’s an insider’s peek at 3M’s company history, told by the dedicated workers behind the innovation:

Graybar & 3M

It goes without saying, 3M has come a long way since the days of mining mineral deposits. Today, 3M’s global sales top a staggering $30.8 billion, with operations in more than 70 countries. In the U.S., 3M produces over 7,000 electrical products across 13 manufacturing facilities.

The relationship between Graybar and 3M spans 60 years and counting. Just for fun, I managed to dig up 3M’s first-ever listing in Graybar’s catalog:


Over To You

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Todd Reed, National Market ManagerAbout The Author
Todd Reed, National Market Manager

Husband to a professionally-licensed architectural engineer and lighting designer, and son-in-law to an electrician, Todd knows the importance of efficiency, safety, and productivity for electrical contractors. Todd is a seasoned professional, with 5 years’ experience within a family-owned distribution business, and 10 years as a Graybar employee. As National Market Manager at Graybar, Todd’s goal is to find the best products and solutions to help contractors work more efficiently, stay safe on the job, and win more productive and profitable business.

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