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.