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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 a variety of products, 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,[4] electronic circuits, healthcare software and optical films.[5] It is based in Maplewood, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul.[6]

In 2017, 3M made $31.7 billion in total sales,[3] and the company ranked No. 97 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.[7] The company has 91,000 employees[8] and has operations in more than 70 countries.[3]

3M Company
Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (1902-2002)
Traded as
  • NYSE: MMM [78]
  • DJIA Component
  • S&P 100 Component
  • S&P 500 Component
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 [79]
(Chairman, President, & CEO)
RevenueIncreaseUS$32.765 billion(2018)[1]
Operating income
DecreaseUS$7.207 billion(2018)[1]
Net income
IncreaseUS$5.349 billion(2018)[1]
Total assetsDecreaseUS$36.500 billion(2018)[1]
Total equityDecreaseUS$9.796 billion(2018)[1]
Number of employees
Website3M.com [80]


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 company began by mining stone from quarries for use in grinding wheels. Struggling with quality and marketing of its products, management supported its workers to innovate and develop new products, which became its core business.[11] Twelve years after its inception, 3M developed its first exclusive product: Three-M-ite cloth. Other innovations in this era included masking tape, waterproof sandpaper, and Scotch-brand tapes. By 1929, 3M had made its first moves toward international expansion by forming Durex to conduct business in Europe. The same year, the company's stock was first traded over the counter and in 1946 listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company is currently a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and of the S&P 500.


The John Dwan Office Building, where 3M was founded, now a museum

The John Dwan Office Building, where 3M was founded, now a museum

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.[12]

Failing to make sandpaper with the anorthosite, the founders decided to import minerals like Spanish garnet, after which sale of sandpapers grew. In 1914, customers complained that the garnet was falling off the paper. The founders discovered that the stones had traveled across the Atlantic Ocean packed near olive oil, and the oil had penetrated the stones. Unable to take the loss of selling expensive inventory, they roasted the stones over fire to remove the olive oil; this was the first instance of research and development at 3M.

Expansion and modern history

3M traffic signals installed in Shelton, Washington. Standing off-axis from the intended viewing area, these signals are invisible to adjacent lanes of traffic in daylight. (A faint glow is visible at night.)

3M traffic signals installed in Shelton, Washington. Standing off-axis from the intended viewing area, these signals are invisible to adjacent lanes of traffic in daylight. (A faint glow is visible at night.)

The same two signals above, taken in the signal's intended viewing area (a single lane of northbound traffic). Special light-diffusing optics and a colored fresnel lens create the indication.

The same two signals above, taken in the signal's intended viewing area (a single lane of northbound traffic). Special light-diffusing optics and a colored fresnel lens create the indication.

The company's late innovations include waterproof sandpaper (1921), masking tape (1925), as well as cellophane "Scotch Tape" and sound-deadening materials for cars.

In 1947, 3M began producing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) by electrochemical fluorination.[13] During the 1950s, the company expanded worldwide with operations in Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom in large part by Clarence Sampair.

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.[14] DuPont referred to PFOA as C8.[15] In 1951, international sales were approximately $20 million. 3M's achievements were recognized by the American Institute of Management naming the company "one of the five best-managed companies in the United States" and included it among the top 12 growth stocks (3M).[16]

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, 3M published a line of board games, largely under the "3M bookshelf game series" brand. These games were marketed to adults and sold through department stores, with easily learned simple rules but complex game play and depth and with uniformly high-quality components. As such, they are the ancestors of the German "Eurogames". The games covered a variety of topics, from business and sports simulations to word and abstract strategy games. They were a major publisher at the time for influential U.S. designers Sid Sackson and Alex Randolph. In the mid-1970s, the game line was taken over by Avalon Hill.

3M's Mincom division introduced several models of magnetic tape recorders for instrumentation use and for studio sound recording. An example of the latter is the model M79 recorder, which still has a following today. 3M Mincom was also involved in designing and manufacturing video production equipment for the television and video post-production industries in the 1970s and 1980s, with such items as character generators and several different models of video switchers, from models of audio and video routers to video mixers for studio production work.

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",[17] which consisted of a 32-track digital audio recorder and a companion 4-track digital recorder for mixdown & final mastering. 3M later designed and manufactured several other commercially available models of digital audio recorders used throughout the early to mid-1980s.

3M launched "Press 'n Peel" in stores in four cities in 1977, but results were disappointing.[18][19] 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.[18] The product was sold as "Post-its" in 1979 when the rollout introduction began,[20] and was sold across the United States[20] from April 6, 1980.[21] The following year they were launched in Canada and Europe.[22]

In 1996, the company's data storage and imaging divisions were spun off as Imation Corporation. In doing so 3M shed 20% of its sales, employees and product lines at a cost of only 5% of its profits and immediately looked much improved in the estimation of Wall Street analysts. These businesses, with annual sales of over $2 billion had generated handsome profits for 3M which funded R&D and development of many new business lines but were largely in "sunset" industries: printing products, photographic film, and removable storage media. Imation shortly sold its imaging and photographic film businesses largely to Kodak in order to concentrate on storage. Imation was purchased by a hedge fund in 2016 and ceased to exist as an independent business. What is left is now called Glassbridge Enterprises, an American holding company.

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.[23] The company has 132 plants and over 67,000 employees worldwide, with sales offices in over 200 countries. The vast majority of the company's employees are local nationals, with few employees residing outside their home country. Its worldwide sales are over $20 billion, with international sales 58% of that total.

In 2002, 3M changed its legal name to 3M Company; it had been popularly known as "3M" for much of its history. Also in 2002, the company agreed to acquire AiT Advanced Information Technologies Corp. for about $37.4 million in cash, after AiT had strongly hinted it had put itself on the auction block.

On December 20, 2005, 3M announced a major partnership with Roush Fenway Racing, one of NASCAR's premier organizations. In 2008, the company sponsored Greg Biffle in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as he drove the No. 16 Ford Fusion. In addition, on February 19, 2006, 3M announced that it would become the title sponsor of the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway until 2011.

On April 4, 2006, 3M announced its intention to sell its pharmaceutical non-core business. The pharmaceuticals businesses were sold off in three deals, in Europe, the Americas, and the remainder of the world. Another division of the Health Care business, Drug Delivery Systems, remains with 3M. The Drug Delivery System division continues to contract manufacture inhalants and transdermal drug-delivery systems, and has now taken on manufacture of the products whose licenses were sold during the divestiture of the pharmaceuticals business.[24] 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.[25]

On August 30, 2010, 3M announced that they had acquired Cogent Systems for $943 million.[26]

On October 13, 2010, 3M completed acquisition of Arizant Inc.[27] 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.[28] The transaction was canceled by 3M in September 2012 amid antitrust concerns.[29]

In May 2013, 3M announced that it was selling Scientific Anglers and Ross Reels to Orvis. Orvis said it planned to continue running the company as an independent entity at its Midland, Michigan headquarters and that the Ross Reels would also continue independent operations at its headquarters in Montrose County, Colorado. While under its ownership, 3M had chemists and other scientists develop improved fly lines that were easier to cast, floated at a higher level in the water, and dried faster for its fishing brands. Ross Reels had been acquired by 3M in 2010.[30]

In March 2017, it was announced that 3M was purchasing Johnson Control International Plc's safety gear business, Scott Safety, for $2 billion.[31]

In 2017, 3M had net sales for the year of $31.657 billion, up from $30.109 billion the year before.[32] In 2018, it was reported that the company would pay $850 million to end the Minnesota water pollution case concerning perfluorochemicals.[33]

On May 25, 2018, Michael F. Roman was appointed CEO by the board of directors.[34] As of August 2018, 3M India Ltd. was the only listed 3M Company subsidiary.[35]


For the fiscal year 2018, 3M reported earnings of US$4.858 billion, with an annual revenue of US$31.657 billion, an increase of 5.1% over the previous fiscal cycle. 3M's shares traded at over $200 per share, and its market capitalization was valued at over US$107.7 billion in October 2018.

in mil. USD$
Net income
in mil. USD$
Total Assets
in mil. USD$
Price per Share
in USD$

Environmental record

The Target Light System, built by 3M at Target headquarters in Minneapolis.

The Target Light System, built by 3M at Target headquarters in Minneapolis.[46]

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).[47] 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.[48][49] Perfluorinated compounds produced by 3M were used in non-stick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics.[50] The Cottage Grove facility manufactured PFCs from the 1940s to 2002.[51] 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.[52] 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.[51] The clean-up cost estimate was $50 to $56 million, funded from a $147 million environmental reserve set aside in 2006.[53]

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.[54] 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.[55][56]

In late 2010, the state of Minnesota sued 3M for $5 billion in punitive damages, claiming they released PFCs, a very toxic chemical according to the EPA, into local waterways.[57] After many long delays, a settlement for $850 million was reached in February 2018.[58][49][59]

Operating facilities

3M facility in St. Paul, Minnesota

3M facility in St. Paul, Minnesota

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).[60]

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.[61]

3M owns almost all of the real estate it occupies. Because 3M is a global enterprise characterized by substantial intersegment cooperation, properties are often used by multiple business segments.[60]

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.[62]

  • 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).[63][64]


Current officers

  • Mike Roman – chief executive officer

  • Inge G. Thulin – executive chairman of the board, president

  • John P. Banovetz – senior vice president, Research and Development and chief technology officer

  • Julie L. Bushman – executive vice president, International Operations

  • Ivan K. Fong – senior vice president, Legal Affairs and General Counsel

  • Nicholas C. Gangestad – senior vice president and chief financial officer

  • Eric Hammes – senior vice president, Manufacturing and Supply Chain

  • Paul A. Keel – executive vice president, Consumer Business Group

  • Ashish K. Khandpur – executive vice president, Transportation and Electronics Business Group

  • Kristen Ludgate – senior vice president, Human Resources

  • Mojdeh Poul – executive vice president, Health Care Business Group

  • Denise R. Rutherford – senior vice president, Corporate Affairs

  • Stephen M. Shafer – senior vice president, Business Development and Marketing-Sales

  • Ty R. Silberhorn – senior vice president, Business Transformation and Information Technology

  • Michael G. Vale – executive vice president, Safety and Industrial Business Group



1902–1905Henry S. Bryan
1905–1929Edgar B. Ober
1929–1949William L. McKnight
1949–1953Richard P. Carlton
1953–1963Herbert P. Buetow
1963–1970Bert S. Cross
1970–1974Harry Heltzer
1974–1979Ray Herzog
1979–1980Lewis Lehr
1979–1986John Pitblado (U.S. Operations)
1979–1987James A. Thwaits (International)
1986–1991Allen F. Jacobson
1991–2001Livio D. DeSimone
2001–2005W. James McNerney, Jr.
2005–2012George W. Buckley
2012–2018Inge G. Thulin
2018–PresentMichael F. Roman

Chief executive officers

1966–1970Bert S. Cross
1970–1974Harry Heltzer
1974–1979Raymond H. Herzog
1979–1986Lewis W. Lehr
1986–1991Allen F. Jacobson
1991–2001L. D. DeSimone
2001–2005W. James McNerney, Jr.
2005Robert S. Morrison (interim)
2005–2012George W. Buckley
2012–2018Inge G. Thulin
2018–presentMichael F. Roman

Chairmen of the board

1949–1966William L. McKnight
1966–1970Bert S. Cross
1970–1975Harry Heltzer
1975–1980Raymond H. Herzog
1980–1986Lewis W. Lehr
1986–1991Allen F. Jacobson
1991–2001L. D. DeSimone
2001–2005W. James McNerney, Jr.
2005–2012George W. Buckley
2012–2018Inge G. Thulin
2018–presentMichael F. Roman

See also

  • Oakdale Dump


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