Some inventions were uniquely inspired

Published 1:15 pm Saturday, April 16, 2016

It’s an invention many of us use every day. I can’t imagine what we ever did without them.

They come in all colors from pastels to neons; but most often pale yellow. This little pad of paper can be as small as two postage stamps or the size of a postcard. No matter the size or color, each little pad of paper has an adhesive strip – hence the common name “sticky notes.” We know the brand name as Post-it notes.

According to a CNN article, more than 50 billion Post-it notes are sold every year. But, as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story.

In 1968, a chemist at the 3M company named Spencer Silver invented a new kind of adhesive made of microspheres that, when attached to paper, will easily be removed and re-attached again. The company could see no use for the invention until 12 years later when another 3M employee was uniquely inspired.

Art Fry came up with the idea during Wednesday night choir practice at his church. Fry would bookmark the songs for the week in his hymnbook with pieces of paper. By Sunday morning, most would have fallen out.

The CNN article quotes Fry, ‘I thought what I needed is a bookmark that would stick to the page…without damaging” the hymnbook pages. After using the new “sticky notes” to communicate in the company offices, 3M realized the potential for the product – and now, you know the rest of the story.

Recently, I read about another inventor, Gary Starkweather. An engineer who has worked for Apple, Microsoft, and Xerox, Starkweather invented the laser printer. He gives credit for the success of his invention to the guidance and inspiration of God.

He once said, “I believe that to a great extent, the creativity we possess is because the Creator put it there. God put things (in us) as tool developers and creative individuals and I think it has to please Him when He sees us use those faculties to make something completely new.”

Many other inventors and scientists were inspired by God. George Washington Carver asked God to reveal to him the secrets of the universe. God showed him much about the peanut. says, “The secrets Carver discovered led to the invention of hundreds of new (products) including peanut butter, paint, oil, and plywood.” Carver attributed all of his inventions to the Creator, “The Lord has guided me…without my Savior, I am nothing.”

Another inventor and noted scientist – Isaac Newton – once said, “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.” As a Christian, we believe that God provides the inspiration, and it is up to us to provide the application.

The Apostle Paul tells us, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father’ (Colossians 3:17 NKJ). John Wesley’s words come to mind, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as you ever can.”


-Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at