WoW Blog (Woman of the Week) Blog

WoW Blog (Woman of the Week)

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Woman of the Week – Bette Nesmith Graham

Posted December 16, 2019 4:30 PM by lmno24

We’ve all made a mistake when writing and needed a bottle of liquid paper to correct the mistake. We can thank Bette Nesmith Graham for the ability to do so.

She was born in 1924 in Dallas, Texas. She dropped out of high school and went to secretary school. By 1951, she had worked her way up to the position of executive secretary for W.W. Overton, a high level bank executive.

In her day-to-day work, she used the newly invented IBM typewriter but quickly grew tired with having to redo an entire page when one small error occurred. She was determined to find a more efficient system.

One day, painters were decorating the bank windows for the holidays and when they made a small error, they simply painted over it with a new layer. This observation served as the inspiration for what would become her namesake invention. She mimicked what the painters did during her typewriting using white tempera paint to cover small errors.

The other secretaries loved the idea and started to request their own supplies of the paint mixture. By 1956, she had sold her first bottle of “Mistake Out” and soon recruited her son and his friends to help her with production. The boys were paid $1 an hour to fill nail polish bottles with the solution and label them. She continued to experiment with the formula until she achieved a quick-drying but opaque product. The refined product, a mixture of paint and other chemicals, was rebranded as “Liquid Paper” and she applied for a trademark and patent in 1958. She mostly kept her work a secret, but one day she accidentally signed a bank letter with the name of her private side business and she lost her job.

But, that gave her the time to fully devote herself to making her invention succeed. Graham's Liquid Paper Company experienced tremendous growth over the next decade. By 1967, the company had an automated production plan and its own office.

In 1975, they moved to a 35,000-square foot operations center in Dallas. She sold the company to Gillette Corporation four years later for $47.5 million, just six months before her death in 1980.

Her son, Michael, who is known for his membership with the 1960s rock group The Monkees, was left in charge of her fortune and nonprofits.

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#1

Re: Woman of the Week – Bette Nesmith Graham

12/16/2019 9:56 PM

We used to call that stuff "wite-out". I must have used a quart of it when I was in school. When it came to typing, I had more speed than accuracy. This lady saved me a ton of work.

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Re: Woman of the Week – Bette Nesmith Graham

12/19/2019 4:28 PM

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Re: Woman of the Week – Bette Nesmith Graham

12/17/2019 1:01 AM

She cashed out just in time...

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#3

Re: Woman of the Week – Bette Nesmith Graham

12/17/2019 12:33 PM

I must've used gallons of "White Out" during my college years...I can still smell its distillate odor.

Anybody remember the "Lift-It" tape the IBM used on their 'selectrics'?

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Re: Woman of the Week – Bette Nesmith Graham

12/17/2019 12:56 PM

I had one of those with the white portion on the tape that you had to type back over the mistake, and then retype the correction....always looked messy...I can't believe they still sell these...

https://www.officesupply.com/technology/office-machines-electronics/office-machine-accessories/typewriter-correction-ribbons/smith-corona-21000-correctable-ribbon/p15119.html

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Re: Woman of the Week – Bette Nesmith Graham

12/19/2019 12:39 PM

I knew a girl in Indianapolis back in the 80's who sounded like Betty-Boop and had a raging White-Out addiction.

She was sticking her head into her handbag all the time to huff the stuff.

I had no idea that was a thing? I never saw such a thing..

Until i saw a guy huffing gold spray paint out of a baggie. -very classy

..Ever get white out on your skin? I still have a little on my finger from 10th grade typing.

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Re: Woman of the Week – Bette Nesmith Graham

12/19/2019 1:15 PM

"Current MSDSs list Liquid Paper as containing titanium dioxide, solvent naphtha, mineral spirits, resins, dispersant, and fragrances. Liquid Paper came under scrutiny in the 1980s, due to concerns over recreational sniffing of the product. The organic solvent 1,1,1-trichloroethane was used as a thinner in the product."

"Although not as toxic as many similar compounds, inhaled or ingested 1,1,1-trichloroethane does act as a central nervous system depressant and can cause effects similar to those of ethanol intoxication, including dizziness, confusion, and, in sufficiently high concentrations, unconsciousness and death.[6] Fatal poisonings and illnesses linked to intentional inhalation of trichloroethane have been reported.[7][8][9][10] The removal of the chemical from correction fluid commenced due to Proposition 65 declaring it hazardous and toxic[11][12] "

Another good product ruined by do-gooders....

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Re: Woman of the Week – Bette Nesmith Graham

12/19/2019 4:46 PM

It's a gateway correction fluid maaan!

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