Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Learning something new today

The history of the yellow legal pad.


In 1888, Thomas W. Holley, a 24-year-old paper mill worker in Holyoke, had an idea for how to use the paper scraps, known as sortings, discarded by the mill. . . . Holley's notion was to bind the scraps into pads that could be sold at a cut rate. Convinced he had a winning idea, he founded his own company to collect the sortings from local mills (Holyoke was then the papermaking capital of the world) and began churning out bargain-price pads.

The legal pad's margins, also called down lines, are drawn 1.25 inches from the left edge of the page. (This is the only requirement for a pad to qualify as a legal pad, though the iconic version has yellow paper, blue lines, and a red gummed top.) Holley added the ruling that defined the legal pad in the early 1900s at the request of a local judge who was looking for space to comment on his own notes.


(Via Boing Boing.)


Related contest: In the comments section, guess how many legal pads I currently have on or in my desk. Closest number without going over wins. (Possible prizes include a PH4H bumpersticker and a legal pad, or, if you're a member, 25 BlogExplosion credits.) Bonus points if you also guess how many are legal size (vs. letter size), and how many are actually yellow (instead of white).

Deadline is noon tomorrow.



8 comments:

Miss Scarlet said...

6?

EC said...

Here is my guess...

12 legal pads
2 of them are letter size 10 of them are legal size
8 of them are yellow
4 of them are white

This was fun...lol. I love trying to picture other peoples lives :)

jason said...

9. All yellow. None more than 36% utilized.

Peter said...

11 total.
5 are yellow legal size.
4 are white letter size.
2 are yellow letter size.

Justin S. said...

I'm using the Price is Right strategy here, and trying not to go over.

One legal pad. White.

Ryane said...

oK. Given that I know you are anal about things being organized, I am going to say you have 8 legal pads, all yellow. Five of them are in your desk, three are on the desk...

Haha. I am probably completely wrong, but this Was fun!

DSL said...

I couldn't believe the level of excitement from others, so I thought I'd give it a try.

7 legal pads
6 legal size
4 yellow

Dara said...

Sadly, none of these are correct.

Erin is the closest -- she wins the BE credits.

I have 19 legal pads, and all but one are in the desk drawer. I have a notepad and post-it notes that I tend to use for smaller things.

The one on the desk is yellow, letter sized, and partially used, since I'm in the middle of a research project.

The ones in the desk are a mixture -- 7 yellow, and 11 white. Only 4 are legal sized, and of those, only one is white. And, while some might be missing a page or two, none are really what you'd call "used."

Generally, when I'm finished using a legal pad, I take the pages out, staple them, and put them in the file that they are associated with. Occasionally, I put a whole pad in the file.

And Debby, like you, I am surprised at the level of excitement. But I am really glad that people played!