Law Office of John Dwan, Now Serving as a Museum
The firm began mining a mineral they wished to use as an abrasive, called corundum, to manufacture grinding wheels. Corundum was, apparently, abundant on the north shore of Lake Superior. The firm acquired acreage and mineral rights, and built a manufacturing facility.
As it turns out, the material in the mine was actually anorthosite, a poor choice to make abrasives or anything else. Coupled with manufacturing issues, the fledging company almost collapsed.
John Dwan tried to sell stock in order to raise capitol, but it was derided as not being worth a "two-bit shot of whiskey."
In 1905, under the new leadership of Edgar Ober and Lucius Ordway, the company moved to Duluth and began manufacturing sandpaper - just in time to supply the new automobile industry with body finishing products.
Today, 3M (as it began to become known) grew into a 30 billion dollar corporation employing 88,000 people worldwide.
Next time you purchase a roll of Scotch® brand tape or a package of Post-it® Notes, remember that it all started right here, in this modest office building, in 1902.
Oh, by the way, if you had one of those stock certificates today, that back then wasn't worth a "two-bit shot of whiskey," it would be worth just shy of two million dollars.