Who invented Liquid Paper?

Life is filled with reasons to be gobsmacked.  We all read recently of the death of Michael Nesmith, one of the members of The Monkees, at the age of 78.  He left many marks on Western culture.  I personally think that of the many strong marks he left on Western culture, the strongest were:

  • He was one of the producers of Repo Man, a film that became a cult classic and influenced many directors and actors thereafter.
  • He wrote the song Different Drum which launched and then enabled the career of Linda Ronstadt.

But what gobsmacked me was to learn that Michael Nesmith’s mother was the inventor of Liquid Paper.  By now in the year 2021 we are sort of accustomed, or maybe even resigned, to learning over and over again that somebody who was female accomplished something back in the days when many members of society seemed to assume that only males could accomplish things.  But it was his mother, Bette Nesmith Graham, who invented Liquid Paper, which inspired all of the later typewriter correction fluid products.  Of course nowadays because of word processors and computer printers, we have a whole generation of today’s youth who maybe have no reason to know that there was even a problem for which a typewriter correction fluid product might be the solution.   

Typewriter correction fluid played an important part of my professional life for decades.  In the early days of my law firm, we went though many bottles of typewriter correction fluid.

You can read about Bette Nesmith Graham in this Wikipedia article.


3 Replies to “Who invented Liquid Paper?”

  1. I saw that obit too, and I too was gobsmacked (to use your term) by the same point.

    I have one kid who graduated high school last year, she took notes by hand and used correction fluid to clean up her notes, though the brand sold locally is not Liquid Paper®, US registration no. 1128622, which was renewed in February 2020 and still available on Amazon.

    In college one of my fellow chem majors would add a few drops of toluene to revive a dried out bottle of the stuff.

  2. Small world. In my previous engineering career now in the distant past, I had a boss who was the chemical engineer who took her process from her kitchen to a real manufacturing line.

  3. Very interesting just how many women were often involved with various developments and/or inventions, but they always seemed to remain in the background and never promoted. It’s only now at their endeavours are beginning to be more widely acknowledged!

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