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3M Company (NYSE: MMM), formerly Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company until 2002, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation with a worldwide presence.
It produces over 75,000 products, including: adhesives, abrasives, laminates, passive fire protection, dental products, electrical materials, electronic circuits, optical films, and supply chain management software. 3M has operations in more than 60 countries – 29 international companies with manufacturing operations, and 35 with laboratories. 3M products are available for purchase through distributors and retailers in more than 200 countries, and many 3M products are available online directly from the company.
Starting out on the North Shore of Lake Superior at Two Harbors, Minnesota in 1902, the company moved to Duluth, Minnesota, and moved to its current headquarters in Maplewood (a St. Paul suburb) in 1906. The company began by mining stone from quarries for use in grinding wheels. Struggling with quality and marketing of its products, top management supported its workers to innovate and develop new products, which eventually would develop into its core business. Twelve years after being founded, 3M was able to develop its first exclusive product: 3M Three-M-ite cloth. Other innovations around this time by 3M included waterproof sandpaper and masking tape. After this point, the famous Scotch brand tape was “born.” By 1929 3M made its first moves in to an international expansion by forming “Durex” in order to conduct business in Europe. This same year, the company’s stocks were first traded over the counter and in 1946 the stocks were listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company is currently a component of the Dow Jones 30 Industrials stock index and a component of the S & P 500.
The company was founded by Henry S. Bryan, Herman W. Cable, John Dwan, William A, McGonagle, and Dr. J. Danley Budd who incorporated 3M on the shore of Lake Superior in 1902. Their original plan was to sell the mineral corundum to manufacturers in the East for making grinding wheels. After selling only one load, on June 13, 1902 the five went the Two Harbors office of company secretary John Dwan—now part of the 3M Museum. They signed papers making Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing a corporation. But Dwan and his associates were not selling what they thought. The mineral was anorthosite, and it was worthless.
Failing to make sandpaper with the anorthosite, they decided to import minerals like Spanish garnet, and sandpaper sales grew. In 1914 customers complained that the garnet was falling off the paper. They found that as the stones had traveled across the Atlantic Ocean with olive oil, the oil had penetrated the stones. Unable to take the loss of selling expensive inventory, they found that the olive oil could be roasted away over a fire. This was the first instance of R&D at 3M.
The company's early misadventures taught 3M employees that "ingenuity and perseverance can overcome even potentially ruinous mistakes."
In 1916 company general manager William L. McKnight applied the same scientific methods to production that he had used to save the company from bankruptcy, and bought the company's first lab for $500. From then on, science would be 3M's guide.
The company's early innovations include waterproof sandpaper (1920s) and masking tape (1925), as well as cellophane "Scotch Tape" and sound deadening materials for cars. 3M's corporate image is built on its innovative and unique products, with up to 25% of sales from new products.
After World War II 3M opened plants across the United States. During the 1950s the company expanded worldwide with operations in Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom. In 1951, international sales were approximately $20 million. 3M’s achievements were recognized by the American Institute of Management naming the company “one of the five best-managed companies in the United States and included it among the top 12 growth stocks (3M).”
In the late 1960s and early 70s, 3M published a line of board games, largely under the "3M bookshelf game series" brand. These games were marketed to adults and sold through department stores, with easily learned simple rules but complex gameplay and depth and with uniformly high quality components. As such, they are the ancestors of the German "Eurogames". The games covered a variety of topics, from business and sports simulations to word and abstract strategy games. They were a major publisher at the time for influential American designers Sid Sackson and Alex Randolph. In the mid-1970s, the game line was taken over by Avalon Hill.
During the 1970s, 3M introduced its first and only traffic signal, the M-131. Labeled a "programmable visibility" signal, the signal had the unique ability to be "programmed" so it was visible from certain angles. It was the first of its type and is still being produced today. 3M sold these signals for special-use applications, such as left turn signals, skewed intersections, or dangerous intersections where a very bright indication is needed. The signals are very heavy and expensive to maintain, and removal is quite frequent in some areas.
3M's Mincom division introduced several models of magnetic tape recorders for instrumentation use and for studio sound recording. An example of the latter is the model M79 recorder , which still has a following in recording circles today. 3M Mincom was also involved in designing and manufacturing video production equipment for the television and video post-production industries in the 1970s and 1980s, with such items as character generators and several different models of video switchers, from models of audio and video routers to video mixers for studio production work.
3M Mincom was involved in some of the first digital audio recordings of the late 1970s to see commercial release when a prototype machine was brought to the Sound 80 studios in Minneapolis. After drawing on the experience of that prototype recorder, 3M later designed and manufactured several commercially available models of digital audio recorders used throughout the early to mid-1980s.
In 1980 the company introduced Post-it notes. In 1996, the company's data storage and imaging divisions were spun off as Imation Corporation. Imation has since sold its imaging and photographic film businesses to concentrate on storage.
Today 3M is one of the 30 companies included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (added on August 9, 1976), and is ranked number 101 on the 2006 Fortune 500 listing. The company has 132 plants and over 67,000 employees worldwide, with sales offices in over 200 countries. The vast majority of the company's employees are local nationals, with few employees residing outside their home country. Its worldwide sales are over $20 billion, with international sales 58% of that total.
On December 20, 2005, 3M announced a major partnership with Roush Racing, one of NASCAR's premier organizations. In 2008 the company will sponsor Greg Biffle in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series as he drives the #16 Ford Fusion. In addition, on February 19, 2006, 3M announced that it would become the title sponsor of the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway for at least the next three years.
On April 4, 2006, 3M announced the will to sell pharmaceutical non-core business. The pharmaceuticals businesses were sold off in three deals, in Europe, the Americas, and the Rest of the World. Another division of the Health Care business, Drug Delivery Systems remains with 3M. The Drug Delivery System division continues to contract manufacture inhalants and transdermal drug delivery systems and has now taken on manufacture of the products whose licenses were sold during the divestiture of the pharmaceuticals business.
Today, after 100 years, 3M follows a business model based on “the ability to not only develop unique products, but also to manufacture them efficiently and consistently around the world (3M).” 
Current board of directors
George W. Buckley | Patrick D. Campbell | Joe E. Harlan | Michael A. Kelly | Angela S. Lalor | Jean Lobey | Robert D. MacDonald | Moe S. Nozari | Frederick J. Palensky | Brad T. Sauer | H.C. Shin | James B. Stake | Inge G. Thulin | John K. Woodworth
Chief executive officers
Chairmen of the board
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "3M". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|