The 3M Company, formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation operating in the fields of industry, worker safety, health care, and consumer goods.[3] The company produces over 60,000 products under several world-renowned brands,[4] including adhesives, abrasives, laminates, passive fire protection, personal protective equipment, window films, paint protection films, dental and orthodontic products, electrical & electronic connecting and insulating materials, medical products, car-care products,[5] electronic circuits, healthcare software and optical films.[6] It is based in Maplewood, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul.[7]

3M Company
Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (1902-2002)
Traded as
FoundedJune 13, 1902 (1902-06-13) (as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company)
Two Harbors, Minnesota, U.S.
FoundersJohn Dwan
Hermon Cable
Henry Bryan
William A. McGonagle
Maplewood, Minnesota
Area served
Key people
Mike Roman
(Chairman, President, & CEO)
Revenue US$32.765 billion (2018)[1]
US$7.207 billion (2018)[1]
US$5.349 billion (2018)[1]
Total assets US$36.500 billion (2018)[1]
Total equity US$9.796 billion (2018)[1]
Number of employees
93,516 (2018)[2]

3M made $32.8 billion in total sales in 2018 and ranks number 95 in the Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.[8] As of 2018, the company has approximately 93,500 employees, and has operations in more than 70 countries.[1]


Five businessmen founded 3M in Two Harbors, Minnesota, in 1902.[9] Originally a mining venture, the goal was to mine corundum, but this failed because the mine's mineral holdings were anorthosite, which had no commercial value.[9] Co-founder John Dwan solicited funds in exchange for stock and Edgar Ober and Lucius Ordway took over the company in 1905.[9] The company moved to Duluth and began researching and producing sandpaper products.[9] William L. McKnight, later a key executive, joined the company in 1907, and A. G. Bush joined in 1909.[9] 3M finally became financially stable in 1916 and was able to pay dividends.[9]

The company moved to St. Paul in 1910, where it remained for 52 years before outgrowing the campus and moving to its current headquarters at 3M Center in Maplewood, Minnesota in 1962.[10]

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 Superior 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.[11]

Expansion and modern history

In 1947, 3M began producing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) by electrochemical fluorination.[12]

In 1951, DuPont started purchasing PFOA from then-Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company for use in the manufacturing of teflon, a product that brought DuPont a billion-dollar-a-year profit by the 1990s.[13] DuPont referred to PFOA as C8.[14]

In the late 1950s, 3M produced the first asthma inhaler,[15] but the company did not enter the pharmaceutical industry per se until the mid-1960s with the acquisition of Riker Laboratories, moving it from California to Minnesota.[16] 3M retained the name Riker Laboratories for the subsidiary until at least 1985.[17] In the mid-1990s, 3M Pharmaceuticals, as the division came to be called, produced the first CFC-free asthma inhaler in response to adoption of the Montreal Protocol by the United States.[18][19] In the 1980s and 1990s, the company spent fifteen years developing a topical cream delivery technology which led in 1997 to health authority approval and marketing of a symptomatic treatment for genital herpes, Aldara.[20][21] After four decades, 3M divested its pharmaceutical unit through three deals in 2006, netting more than US$2 billion.[22][23] At the time, 3M Pharmaceuticals comprised about twenty percent of 3M's health care business and employed just over a thousand people.[22]

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 Minneapolis. 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",[24]

3M launched "Press 'n Peel" in stores in four cities in 1977, but results were disappointing.[25][26] A year later 3M instead issued free samples directly to consumers in Boise, Idaho, with 94 percent of those who tried them indicating they would buy the product.[25] The product was sold as "Post-its" in 1979 when the rollout introduction began,[27] and was sold across the United States[27] from April 6, 1980.[28] The following year they were launched in Canada and Europe.[29]

As of 2012, 3M was one of the 30 companies included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, added on August 9, 1976, and was 97 on the 2011 Fortune 500 list.[30]

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.[31]

On August 30, 2010, 3M announced that they had acquired Cogent Systems for $943 million.[32]

On October 13, 2010, 3M completed acquisition of Arizant Inc.[33] In December 2011, 3M completed the acquisition of the Winterthur Technology Group, a bonded abrasives company.

On January 3, 2012, it was announced that the Office and Consumer Products Division of Avery Dennison was being bought by 3M for $550 million.[34] The transaction was canceled by 3M in September 2012 amid antitrust concerns.[35]

In May 2013, 3M announced that it was selling Scientific Anglers and Ross Reels to Orvis. Ross Reels had been acquired by 3M in 2010.[36]

In March 2017, it was announced that 3M was purchasing Johnson Control International Plc's safety gear business, Scott Safety, for $2 billion.[37]

In 2017, 3M had net sales for the year of $31.657 billion, up from $30.109 billion the year before.[38] In 2018, it was reported that the company would pay $850 million to end the Minnesota water pollution case concerning perfluorochemicals.[39]

On May 25, 2018, Michael F. Roman was appointed CEO by the board of directors.[40] As of August 2018, 3M India Ltd. was the only listed 3M Company subsidiary.[41]

On December 19, 2018, 3M announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the technology business of M*Modal, for a total enterprise value of $1.0 billion.[42]

In October 2019, 3M completed the purchase of Acelity and its KCI subsidiaries worldwide for $6.7 billion, including assumption of debt and other adjustments.[43]

Environmental record

In 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began investigating perfluorinated chemicals after receiving data on the global distribution and toxicity of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).[45] 3M, the former primary producer of PFOS from the U.S., announced the phase-out of PFOS, perfluorooctanoic acid, and PFOS-related product production in May 2000.[46][47] Perfluorinated compounds produced by 3M were used in non-stick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics.[48] The Cottage Grove facility manufactured PFCs from the 1940s to 2002.[49] In response to PFC contamination of the Mississippi River and surrounding area, 3M stated the area will be "cleaned through a combination of groundwater pump-out wells and soil sediment excavation". The restoration plan was based on an analysis of the company property and surrounding lands.[50] The on-site water treatment facility that handled the plant's post-production water was not capable of removing the PFCs, which were released into the nearby Mississippi River.[49] The clean-up cost estimate was $50 to $56 million, funded from a $147 million environmental reserve set aside in 2006.[51]

In 1983, the Oakdale Dump in Oakdale, Minnesota, was listed as an EPA Superfund site after significant groundwater and soil contamination by VOCs and heavy metals was uncovered.[52] The Oakdale Dump was a 3M dumping site utilized through the 1940s and 1950s.

In 2008, 3M created the Renewable Energy Division within 3M's Industrial and Transportation Business to focus on Energy Generation and Energy Management.[53][54]

In late 2010, the state of Minnesota sued 3M for $5 billion in punitive damages, claiming they released PFCs—classified a toxic chemical by the EPA—into local waterways.[55] A settlement for $850 million was reached in February 2018,[56][47][57] although in 2019, 3M, along with the Chemours Company and DuPont, appeared before lawmakers to deny responsibility, with company Senior VP of Corporate Affairs Denise Rutherford arguing that the chemicals pose no human health threats at current levels and have no victims.[58]

Operating facilities

3M's general offices, corporate research laboratories, and some division laboratories in the US are in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the United States, 3M operates 80 manufacturing facilities in 29 states, and 125 manufacturing and converting facilities in 37 countries outside the US (in 2017).[59]

In March 2016, 3M completed a 400,000-square-foot (37,000 m2) research-and-development building that cost $150 million on its Maplewood campus. Seven hundred scientists from various divisions occupy the building. They were previously scattered across the campus. 3M hopes concentrating its research and development in this manner will improve collaboration. 3M received $9.6 million in local tax increment financing and relief from state sales taxes in order to assist with development of the building.[60]

Selected factory detail information:


Board chairs have included: William L. McKnight (1949–1966),[64][65] Bert S. Cross (1966–1970),[66][67] Harry Heltzer (1970–1975),[68] Raymond H. Herzog (1975–1980),[69] Lewis W. Lehr (1980–1986), Allen F. Jacobson (1986–1991),[70] Livio DeSimone (1991–2001),[71] James McNerney (2001–2005),[72] George W. Buckley (2005–2012),[73][74] and Inge Thulin (2012–2018).[75] Thulin continued to serve as executive chairman until current chair Michael F. Roman was appointed in 2019.[76]

3M's CEOs have included: Cross (1966–1970),[77] Heltzer (1970–1975),[68] Herzog (1975–1979),[77][78] Lehr (1979–1986),[79] Jacobson (1986–1991),[70] DeSimone (1991–2001),[71] McNerney (2001–2005),[72] Robert S. Morrison (2005, interim),[80] Buckley (2005–2012),[73][74] Thulin (2012–2018), and Roman (2018–present).[75]

3M's presidents have included: Edgar B. Ober (1905–1929),[81] McKnight (1929–1949),[65][82] Richard P. Carlton (1949–1953),[83] Herbert P. Buetow (1953–1963),[84] Cross (1963–1966),[85] Heltzer (1966–1970),[66] and Herzog (1970–1975).[86] In the late 1970s, the position was separated into roles for U.S. and international operations. The position overseeing domestic operations was first held by Lehr,[78] followed by John Pitblado from 1979 to 1981,[87] then Jacobson from 1984 to 1991.[88] James A. Thwaits led international operations starting in 1979.[87] Buckley and Thulin were president during 2005–2012,[89] and 2012–2018, respectively.[75]

See also


  1. "3M Company 2018 Annual Report (Form 10-K)". last10k.com. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. February 2019.
  2. "3M Company 2018 Annual Report (Form 10-K)" (PDF).
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  16. Rainsford, K. D. (2005). "The discovery, development and novel actions of nimesulide". In Rainsford, K. D. (ed.). Nimesulide - Actions and Uses. Germany: Birkhäuser Verlag, an imprint of Springer Science+Business Media. p. 4. ISBN 978-3-7643-7068-8 via Google Books (Preview).
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  60. DePass, Dee (March 11, 2016). "3M Co. opens new $150 million R&D lab in Maplewood". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
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  64. Cummings, Judith (March 5, 1978). "William L. McKnight, Who Built A Sandpaper Company Into 3M". The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2019. He had retired as chairman of the board of 3M in 1966, but had continued to serve on the board and received the title of director emeritus in 1973.
  65. Lukas, Paul; Overfelt, Maggie (April 1, 2003). "3M A Mining Company Built on a Mistake Stick It Out Until a Young Man Came Along with Ideas About How to Tape Those Blunders Together as Innovations--Leading to Decades of Growth". CNN Money. Retrieved August 28, 2019. When he became general manager in 1914, 3M was a $264,000 company; by the time he was made president in 1929, annual revenues were $5.5 million; in 1943, 3M generated $47.2 million, and by the time of McKnight's retirement as chairman in 1966, he had grown 3M into a $1.15 billion operation.
  66. "Heltzer and Herzog Move to Top at 3M". Commercial West. Financial Communications. 140: 17. August 22, 1970. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  67. Berry, John F.; Jones, William H. (May 18, 1977). "Boxes of SEC Documents Reveal Secret Dealings". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  68. Martin, Douglas (September 28, 2005). "Harry Heltzer, 94, Inventor of Reflective Signs, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2019. Nearly a third of that increase came after he rose from president to chairman and chief executive in October 1970.
  69. "3M Says Reputation Is Still Strong One". The New York Times. May 14, 1975. Retrieved August 28, 2019. Mr. Herzog was elected chairman at a board meeting after the stockholder session, succeeding Harry Heltzer. Mr. Herzog will continue as president and chief executive officer.
  70. Schmitt, Eric (February 11, 1986). "Business People; 2 Top 3M Posts Go to Domestic Head". The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2019. The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company announced yesterday that Allen F. Jacobson, president of the concern's domestic operations, had been named chairman and chief executive, effective March 1.
  71. Hagerty, James R. (January 18, 2017). "Livio DeSimone, a Former 3M CEO, Dies at 80". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 28, 2019. He served as chairman and CEO from 1991 to 2001.
  72. Lublin, Joann; Murray, Matthew; Hallinan, Joe (December 5, 2000). "General Electric's McNerney Will Become 3M Chairman". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  73. Dash, Eric (December 8, 2005). "3M Finds Chief Without Reaching for a Star". The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2019. And yesterday, 3M named George W. Buckley, the low-profile leader of the Brunswick Corporation, as its new chairman and chief executive.
  74. "3M CEO Buckley to retire; Thulin to succeed him". Reuters. February 8, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  75. "3M appoints Michael Roman as CEO; Inge Thulin will take new position as executive chairman of the board". CNBC. March 5, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2019. Thulin has served as 3M's chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer since 2012.
  76. Ruvo, Christopher (February 7, 2019). "Thulin To Retire As 3M Chairman". Advertising Specialty Institute. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  77. Jensen, Michael C. (March 9, 1975). "How 3M Got Tangled Up in Politics". The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2019. Bert S. Cross, who was chairman and chief executive of 3M from 1966 to 1970, and a board member thereafter, will not seek re‐election to the board where he serves as chairman of the finance committee.
  78. "Herzog Shifts His Role at 3M". The New York Times. February 13, 1979. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  79. Eccher, Marino (August 3, 2016). "For former 3M CEO Lew Lehr, mistakes were stepping stones". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved August 28, 2019. Lehr was chief executive of 3M from 1979 to 1986.
  80. Schmeltzer, John (July 1, 2005). "Quaker Oats ex-chief takes control at 3M". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  81. Bustin, Greg (April 2, 2019). How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices. Sourcebooks. p. 41. Retrieved August 28, 2019. At the May 1905 annual meeting, Over was named 3M's new president. Apart from one three-year break, Over served as president until 1929—the first eleven years without compensation.
  82. Byrne, Harlan S. (July 3, 2000). "A Changed Giant". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 28, 2019. The patient approach may have originated with W. L. McKnight, a legendary CEO who joined the company in 1907 and became president in 1929.
  83. Betz, Frederick (February 9, 2011). 3M Diversifies Through Innovation. John Wiley & Sons. p. 154. Retrieved August 28, 2019. The award was named after Richard Carlton, president of 3M from 1949 to 1953.
  84. "Herbert Buetow, Manufacturer, 73". The New York Times. January 11, 1972. Retrieved August 28, 2019. He was president of 3‐M from 1953 to 1963 and retired from its board in 1968.
  85. "3M Names Heltzer President and Cross as New Chairman; 2 High Positions Are Filled by 3M". The New York Times. August 11, 1966. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  86. "Raymond Herzog, Helped Start 3M Copier Business". Sun-Sentinel. July 23, 1997. Retrieved August 28, 2019 via The New York Times. He was president of the company from 1970 until 1975, when he became chairman and chief executive.
  87. Sloane, Leonard (August 17, 1981). "Business People". The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  88. Gilpin, Kenneth (November 5, 1984). "Business People; 3M Fills Top Post at Major Division". Retrieved August 28, 2019. Mr. Jacobson... fills a post that has been vacant since the end of 1981, when John Pitblado retired.
  89. Dash, Eric (December 7, 2005). "3M Names Chief, Ending 5-Month Search". The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
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