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. The company produces over 60,000 products under several world-renowned brands, 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, electronic circuits, healthcare software and optical films. It is based in Maplewood, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul.
|Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (1902-2002)|
|Founded||June 13, 1902 (as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company)|
Two Harbors, Minnesota, U.S.
William A. McGonagle
(Chairman, President, & CEO)
Number of employees
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. As of 2018, the company has approximately 93,500 employees, and has operations in more than 70 countries.
Five businessmen founded 3M in Two Harbors, Minnesota, in 1902. 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. Co-founder John Dwan solicited funds in exchange for stock and Edgar Ober and Lucius Ordway took over the company in 1905. The company moved to Duluth and began researching and producing sandpaper products. William L. McKnight, later a key executive, joined the company in 1907, and A. G. Bush joined in 1909. 3M finally became financially stable in 1916 and was able to pay dividends.
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.
Expansion and modern history
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. DuPont referred to PFOA as C8.
In the late 1950s, 3M produced the first asthma inhaler, 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. 3M retained the name Riker Laboratories for the subsidiary until at least 1985. 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. 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. After four decades, 3M divested its pharmaceutical unit through three deals in 2006, netting more than US$2 billion. At the time, 3M Pharmaceuticals comprised about twenty percent of 3M's health care business and employed just over a thousand people.
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",
3M launched "Press 'n Peel" in stores in four cities in 1977, but results were disappointing. 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. The product was sold as "Post-its" in 1979 when the rollout introduction began, and was sold across the United States from April 6, 1980. The following year they were launched in Canada and Europe.
On August 30, 2010, 3M announced that they had acquired Cogent Systems for $943 million.
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. The transaction was canceled by 3M in September 2012 amid antitrust concerns.
In 2017, 3M had net sales for the year of $31.657 billion, up from $30.109 billion the year before. In 2018, it was reported that the company would pay $850 million to end the Minnesota water pollution case concerning perfluorochemicals.
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). 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. Perfluorinated compounds produced by 3M were used in non-stick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics. The Cottage Grove facility manufactured PFCs from the 1940s to 2002. 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. 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. The clean-up cost estimate was $50 to $56 million, funded from a $147 million environmental reserve set aside in 2006.
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. The Oakdale Dump was a 3M dumping site utilized through the 1940s and 1950s.
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. A settlement for $850 million was reached in February 2018, 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.
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).
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.
Selected factory detail information:
- Cynthiana, Kentucky, USA factory producing Post-it Notes (672 SKU) and Scotch Tape (147 SKU). It has 539 employees and was established in 1969.
- Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, UK factory producing respirators for workers safety, using laser technology. It has 370 employees and recently there was an investment of £4.5 million ($7 million).
Board chairs have included: William L. McKnight (1949–1966), Bert S. Cross (1966–1970), Harry Heltzer (1970–1975), Raymond H. Herzog (1975–1980), Lewis W. Lehr (1980–1986), Allen F. Jacobson (1986–1991), Livio DeSimone (1991–2001), James McNerney (2001–2005), George W. Buckley (2005–2012), and Inge Thulin (2012–2018). Thulin continued to serve as executive chairman until current chair Michael F. Roman was appointed in 2019.
3M's CEOs have included: Cross (1966–1970), Heltzer (1970–1975), Herzog (1975–1979), Lehr (1979–1986), Jacobson (1986–1991), DeSimone (1991–2001), McNerney (2001–2005), Robert S. Morrison (2005, interim), Buckley (2005–2012), Thulin (2012–2018), and Roman (2018–present).
3M's presidents have included: Edgar B. Ober (1905–1929), McKnight (1929–1949), Richard P. Carlton (1949–1953), Herbert P. Buetow (1953–1963), Cross (1963–1966), Heltzer (1966–1970), and Herzog (1970–1975). 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, followed by John Pitblado from 1979 to 1981, then Jacobson from 1984 to 1991. James A. Thwaits led international operations starting in 1979. Buckley and Thulin were president during 2005–2012, and 2012–2018, respectively.
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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.
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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.
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Nearly a third of that increase came after he rose from president to chairman and chief executive in October 1970.
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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.
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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.
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He served as chairman and CEO from 1991 to 2001.
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And yesterday, 3M named George W. Buckley, the low-profile leader of the Brunswick Corporation, as its new chairman and chief executive.
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Thulin has served as 3M's chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer since 2012.
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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.
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Lehr was chief executive of 3M from 1979 to 1986.
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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.
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The patient approach may have originated with W. L. McKnight, a legendary CEO who joined the company in 1907 and became president in 1929.
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The award was named after Richard Carlton, president of 3M from 1949 to 1953.
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He was president of 3‐M from 1953 to 1963 and retired from its board in 1968.
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He was president of the company from 1970 until 1975, when he became chairman and chief executive.
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Mr. Jacobson... fills a post that has been vacant since the end of 1981, when John Pitblado retired.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 3M.|
- Business data for 3M:
- Google Local's satellite image of 3M head office campus
- 3M Global Company Profile from Transnationale.org
- Minnesota Department of Health on the Oakdale Dump Superfund Site
- The historical records of the 3M Company are available for research use at the Minnesota Historical Society