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Patsy Sherman, Scotchgard™ Inventor
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Patsy Sherman

Patsy Sherman

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Drawing of a liquid spilling out of a beaker onto a shoe
Drawing of a liquid spilling out of a beaker onto a shoe

Scotchgard™ Inventor

In 1952 an assistant in Patsy Sherman’s chemistry lab at 3M accidentally dropped a beaker full of a liquid rubber mixture onto the floor, where it splashed onto Sherman’s canvas sneakers.

Sherman’s team had been trying to develop a new kind of rubber for use in aircraft fuel lines. But the spilled mixture caught their attention. Although the mixture didn’t change the look or feel of the canvas, they were unable to wash it off the shoes. The water and solvents they used to try to clean the sneakers beaded up and ran off “like water off a duck’s back.”

Sherman and fellow chemist Sam Smith realized the mixture could be used to protect fabrics from water and other fluids. They immediately began trying to improve it and reduce its cost. After three years of work, Sherman’s mixture was patented and released as Scotchgard Protector™.

Next: What is Scotchgard™ Made of? ›

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