More than a century ago, 3M started as a small-scale mining venture in Northern Minnesota, then named Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company. Now a global powerhouse, our products improve the daily lives of people around the world.
But our success and longevity were not apparent from the start. We tried. We failed. We tried something new. Repeat cycle. Innovation and perseverance drove our founders, and it continues to drive 3Mers today.
From Humble Beginnings to Fortune 500
When 3M began in 1902, our five founders had a simple goal: to mine for corundum, a mineral ideal for making sandpaper and grinding wheels. Turns out, what they thought was corundum was really another low-grade mineral called anorthosite.
Discovering the poor-quality mineral could have caused an early end to our fledgling company, but our founders persisted. Why? Because something more important was born that first year: the spirit of innovation and collaboration that forms the foundation of 3M today. So instead of calling it quits, we turned to different materials, applied them to other products, gained the trust of important investors and built up sales little by little.
Scientific, technical and marketing innovations produced success upon success over the years, eventually making 3M a constant name on the Fortune 500 list. Today, more than 60,000 3M products are used in homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and other industries. One third of our sales come from products invented within the past five years, thanks to innovations from the thousands of researchers and scientists we employ around the world.
With corporate operations in 70 countries and sales in 200, we are committed to creating the technology and products that advance every company, enhance every home and improve every life.