Stock Ticker Symbol: MMM
3M is a $16 billion technology company with leading positions in electronics, telecommunications, industrial, consumer and office, health care, safety and other markets. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., the company has operations in more than 60 countries and serves customers in nearly 200 countries. 3M businesses share technologies, manufacturing operations, brands, market channels and other important resources. 3M is one of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average and also is a component of the Standard & Poor's 500 index.
A quick glance
3M was founded in 1902 at the Lake Superior town of Two Harbors, Minn. Five businessmen agreed to mine a mineral deposit for grinding-wheel abrasives. But the deposits proved to be of little value, and the new Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company quickly moved to nearby Duluth to focus on sandpaper products.
Years of struggle ensued until the company could master quality production and a supply chain. New investors were attracted to 3M, such as Lucius Ordway, who moved the company to St. Paul in 1910. Early technical and marketing innovations began to produce successes and, in 1916, the company paid its first dividend - six cents a share.
The world's first waterproof sandpaper, which eased the health problem of sanding dust, was developed in the early 1920s. A major milestone occurred in 1925 when Richard G. Drew, a young lab assistant, invented masking tape - an innovative step toward diversification and the first of many Scotch brand pressure-sensitive tapes.
In the following years technical progress resulted in Scotch(TM) Cellophane Tape for box sealing. Customers began to find many additional uses... including consumer applications. Drawing on expertise in bonding mineral grit to sandpaper, 3M brought out new adhesives to replace tacks in bonding upholstery and sound-deadening materials for the auto industry's new metal-framed cars.
The roofing granule business (ceramic coated bits of rock) was developed in response to a need to make asphalt shingles last longer. In the early 1940s, 3M was diverted into defense materials for World War II, which was followed by new ventures, such as Scotchlite(TM) Reflective Sheeting for highway markings, magnetic sound recording tape, filament adhesive tape and the start of 3M's involvement in the graphic arts with offset printing plates.
In the 1950s, 3M introduced the Thermo-Fax(TM) copying process, Scotchgard(TM) Fabric Protector, videotape, Scotch-Brite(TM) Cleaning Pads and several new electro-mechanical products. In the 1960s dry-silver microfilm was introduced, as well as photographic products, carbonless papers, overhead projection systems and a rapidly growing health care business of medical and dental products.
Markets further expanded in the 1970s and 1980s into pharmaceuticals, radiology, energy control, the office market ... and globally to most every country in the world.
The 1990s set new sales records of over $15 billion annually, and about 30 percent of sales coming from products created within the past four years. 3M's growth has come through a desire to participate in many markets where the company can make a significant contribution from core technologies, rather than be dominant in just a few markets.
Additional information about the company is available at www.3m.com.
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