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Wite Out and Liquid Paper

Updated on March 23, 2013

Have you ever thought what it would be like to work in an office and not have Liquid Paper or Wite-Out? Imagine having to own up to your mistakes or re-do all your projects because of small typos.

I remember being in high school and having the IBM ball typewriters and the little correction strips that you backspaced, placed the tape between in the right spot and retyped the wrong character so that the correction material covered up the wrong character. You kept turning the strip around until you used it up.

The invention of Liquid Paper has changed the way offices run. Over the years, the quality of the product has increased as they have learned to make it dry faster, clump less and go on smoother. The invention of the pen types and tape dispensers has made things even easier. I keep the Wite-Out Ecolutions in my desk and in my purse. It has a cap that snaps on and it is extremely smooth gliding.

Wite-out Ecolutions, pictured here without the cap on.  This is my favorite.
Wite-out Ecolutions, pictured here without the cap on. This is my favorite.

Liquid Paper Fast Facts

  • Liquid paper was invented in 1951 by Bette Nesmith Graham, right here in Texas.
  • She is the mother of Michael Nesmith of the singing and TV sensation of the 60s, The Monkees. You’ll remember him as the one wearing the toboggan.
  • She was an artist and an executive secretary/typist for a bank and wanted a way to correct her mistakes.
  • She mixed tempera paint in her kitchen blender and called it Mistake Out and began sharing it with co-workers.
  • The Mistake Out Company was founded in 1956.
  • Bette Nesmith Graham was actually fired from her typing job for failing to correct a mistake she didn’t catch.
  • She approached IBM with her product but they declined.
  • She renamed it Liquid Paper and sold it from her home for the next 17 years.
  • She sold the company to Gillette for $47.5 million with royalties in 1979.
  • In the 80s, Liquid Paper was under scrutiny because of concerns with teens sniffing it.
  • Trichloroethane was removed due to Proposition 65 when it was declared hazardous and toxic.
  • Newell Rubbermaid bought it in 2000.
  • Bette Nesmith Graham died in 1980 leaving half of her estate to Michael and half to finance the Council on Ideas, a think tank devoted to exploring world problems.

Wite-Out Fast Facts

  • Wite-out was invented in 1966 by George Kloosterhouse and Edwin Johanknecht
  • The trademark “Wite-Out” was registered in 1974
  • BIC bought out Wite-Out in 1992 and released new products such the correction ballpoint pen in 1996 and the dry correction tape in 1998


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    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 7 years ago from Central Texas

      Must be a UK thing...I don't think we had that here in the states.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I remember what was called Snowpake in the 70s