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3M Company, formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, ( ) is an Americanmarker multinational conglomerate corporation.

With over 76,000 employees they produce over 55,000 products, including: adhesives, abrasives, laminates, passive fire protection, dental products, electrical materials, electronic circuits and optical films. 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.


3M started out on the North Shore of Lake Superiormarker in Two Harborsmarker, Minnesotamarker in 1902. The company then moved to Duluth, Minnesotamarker, and then again to Saint Paul, Minnesotamarker. 3M stayed for 15 years before outgrowing the campus and moving to its current headquarters in Maplewoodmarker (a St. Paul suburb). The new campus in Maplewood is and has over 50 buildings, including an 'innovation center' that displays products 3M has brought to market.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 developed into its core business. Twelve years after being founded, 3M developed its first exclusive product: 3M Three-M-ite cloth. Other innovations in this era included waterproof sandpaper and masking tape, then the famous Scotch brand tape was “born.” By 1929 3M made its first moves in to an international expansion by forming “Durex” 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 Exchangemarker (NYSE). The company is currently a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and of the S&P 500.


3M was founded by Henry S. Bryan, Herman W. Cable, John Dwan, William A. McGonagle, and Dr. J. Danley Budd. The founders' original plan was to sell the mineral corundum to manufacturers in the East for making grinding wheels. After selling one load, on June 13, 1902 the five went to the Two Harbors office of company secretary John Dwan, which was on the shore of Lake Superiormarker and is now part of the 3M National Museum, and signed papers making Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing a corporation. In reality, however, Dwan and his associates were not selling what they thought; they were really selling the worthless mineral anorthosite.

Failing to make sandpaper with the anorthosite, the founders decided to import minerals like Spanishmarker garnet, after which sale of sandpapers grew. In 1914, customers complained that the garnet was falling off the paper. The founders discovered that the stones had traveled across the Atlantic Oceanmarker packed near olive oil, and the oil had penetrated the stones. Unable to take the loss of selling expensive inventory, they roasted the stones over fire to remove the olive oil. This was the first instance of research and development at 3M.


The company's early innovations include waterproof sandpaper (1921) 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 each year 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 large part by Clarence Sampair. 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 1970s, 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 game play 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.

3M traffic signals installed in Shelton, Washington.
Standing off-axis from the intended viewing area, these signals are invisible to adjacent lanes of traffic in daylight.
(A faint glow is visible at night)
The same two signals above, taken in the signal's intended viewing area (a single lane of northbound traffic).
Special light-diffusing optics and a colored fresnel lens create the indication.
After three years of testing, in 1969 3M introduced its first and only traffic signal, the Model 131. Labeled a "programmable visibility" signal, the signal had the unique ability to be "programmed" so it was visible from certain angles. The Model 131's "programmability" was achieved via masking a clear glass lens with aluminum adhesive tape. [373549][373550] It was the first of its type and one of only two of the design in history. 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 (roughly 55 pounds per signal head) and expensive to maintain, and removal is frequent in some areas. In addition to the 3M Model 131 traffic signal, 3M also marketed and sold a retrofit kit for conventional signals using modified M-131 optics, a retrofit kit for eight-inch (203 mm) conventional signals using a smaller version of the M-131 optical assembly, a Model 130 Programmable Visibility pedestrian signal (a M-131 with pedestrian signal indications), and a few bi-modal modifications of the M-131. As of 2007, 3M no longer manufactures the signals but has continued to supply parts.

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 [373551], which still has a following 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 Minneapolismarker. After drawing on the experience of that prototype recorder, 3M later introduced in 1979 a commercially available digital audio recording system called the "3M Digital Audio Mastering System" [373552], which consisted of a 32-track digital audio tape recorder and a companion 4-track digital recorder for final mastering. 3M later designed and manufactured several other 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 the 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 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-Fenway Racing, one of NASCAR's premier organizations. In 2008 the company will sponsor Greg Biffle in the NASCAR Sprint 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 Speedwaymarker for at least the next three years.

On April 4, 2006, 3M announced its intention to sell pharmaceutical non-core business. The pharmaceuticals businesses were sold off in three deals, in Europe, the Americas, and the remainder 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. On September 8, 2008, 3M announced an agreement to acquire Meguiar's, a car care products company that was family-owned for over a century.

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).”

Environmental record

The Target Light System, built by 3M.

In 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‎ (EPA) began investigating perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) after receiving data on the global distribution and toxicity of PFOS, the former key ingredient in Scotchgard. 3M, the former primary American producer of PFOS, announced the phase-out of PFOS, PFOA, and PFOS-related product production in May 2000. PFCs produced by 3M were used in non-stick cookware and stain resistant fabrics. The Cottage Grovemarker facility released PFCs from the 1940s to 2002. In response to PFC contamination of the Mississippi River and surrounding area, 3M states the area will be "cleaned though a combination of groundwater pump-out wells and soil sediment excavation." The restoration plan is to be based on an analysis of the company property and surrounding lands. The on-site water treatment facility that handles the plant's post-production water is not capable of removing the PFCs, which were pumped into the nearby Mississippi River. The clean-up cost estimate is $50-56 million, which will be funded from a $147 million environmental reserve set aside in 2006. The search area for PFCs in the Mississippi River now extends to five states, spanning approximately half of the river's total distance. Perfluorochemicals do not break down or degrade in the environment.

In 2002, 3M ranked 70th on the Political Economy Research Institute's (PERI) list of the top 100 corporations emitting airborne pollutants in the United States. In 2008, PERI no longer included 3M on the list.

In 2008, 3M created the Renewable Energy Division within 3M’s Industrial and Transportation Business to focus on Energy Generation and Energy Management.

Operating facilities

3M’s general offices, corporate research laboratories, and certain division laboratories are located in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the United States, 3M has nine sales offices in eight states and operates 74 manufacturing facilities in 27 states. Internationally, 3M has 148 sales offices. The Company operates 93 manufacturing and converting facilities in 32 countries outside the United States.

3M owns substantially all of its physical properties. 3M’s physical facilities are highly suitable for the purposes for which they were designed. Because 3M is a global enterprise characterized by substantial intersegment cooperation, properties are often used by multiple business segments.

Selected factory detail information:


Corporate governance

Current officers

  • George W. Buckley Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Patrick D. Campbell Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Joe E. Harlan Executive Vice President, Electro and Communications Business
  • Michael A. Kelly Executive Vice President, Display and Graphics Business
  • Angela S. Lalor Senior Vice President, Human Resources
  • Jean Lobey Executive Vice President, Safety, Security and Protection Services Business
  • Robert D. MacDonald Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales
  • Moe S. Nozari Executive Vice President, Consumer and Office Business
  • Frederick J. Palensky Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Technology Officer
  • Brad T. Sauer Executive Vice President, Health Care Business
  • H.C. Shin Executive Vice President, Industrial and Transportation Business
  • Marschall I. Smith Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs and General Counsel
  • Inge G. Thulin Executive Vice President, International Operations
  • John K. Woodworth Senior Vice President, Corporate Supply Chain Operations


1902–1905 Henry S. Bryan
1905–1906 Edgar B. Ober
1906–1909 Lucius P. Ordway
1909–1929 Edgar B. Ober
1929–1949 William L. McKnight
1949–1953 Richard P. Carlton
1953–1963 Herbert P. Buetow
1963–1966 Bert S. Cross
2005–present George W. Buckley

Chief executive officers

1966–1970 Bert S. Cross
1970–1974 Harry Heltzer
1974–1979 Raymond H. Herzog
1979–1986 Lewis W. Lehr
1986–1991 Allen F. Jacobson
1991–2001 L.D. DeSimone
2001–2005 W. James McNerney, Jr.
2005 Robert S. Morrison (interim)
2005–present George W. Buckley

Chairmen of the board

1949–1966 William L. McKnight
1966–1970 Bert S. Cross
1970–1975 Harry Heltzer
1975–1980 Raymond H. Herzog
1980–1986 Lewis W. Lehr
1986–1991 Allen F. Jacobson
1991–2001 L.D. DeSimone
2001–2005 W. James McNerney, Jr.
2005–present George W. Buckley

See also


  1. - Who We Are
  2. MPR: 3M at 100 - on the right path for growth?
  4. Meguiar's Online - NEWS RELEASE - 3M to Acquire Meguiar's, Inc.
  6. Target Lights create evolving Minneapolis landmark, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal , April 11, 2003.
  7. Aziz Ullah. "The Fluorochemical Dilemma: What the PFOS/PFOA fuss is all about" Cleaning & Restoration., (October 2006). Accessed October 25, 2008.
  8. Kellyn S. Betts "Perfluoroalkyl Acids: What Is the Evidence Telling Us?" Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 115, Number 5, May 2007. Accessed October 18, 2008.
  9. 3M: "PFOS-PFOA Information: What is 3M Doing?" Accessed October 25, 2008.
  10. Cleaning up river site may cost 3M $18 million
  11. Perfluorochemicals and the 3M Cottage Grove Facility: Minnesota Dept. Of Health
  12. Health Consultation: 3M Chemolite: Perfluorochemicals Releases at the 3M - Cottage Grove Facility Minnesota Dept. of Health, Jan. 2005
  13. 3M submits plans to Minnesota for cleaning up PFCs in the east metro
  14. MPR: Search for PFC contamination in Mississippi River expands
  15. PERI - PoliticalEconomy Research Institute: Toxic 100 Table
  16. Toxic 100 Index 2008
  19. 3M Company SEC Form 10K - Annual Report - filed 2/15/2008
  20. 3M Company SEC Form 10K - Annual Report - filed 2/15/2008
  24. [1]
  25. CEO and Corporate Officers

External links

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