Thus Tibex was invented

Thus Tibex was invented

It is common while driving through Dallas County cities in the United States to find branches of Texas Bank and Trust there. It is a small banking entity born in 1958, emerging from the historic National Commercial Bank. It is deeply rooted in the region. “We are proud to be the independent bank of East Texas,” they promptly announce on their website. However, they did not mention Pete Nesmith-Graham anywhere. She was the secretary of William Ward Overton, Jr., the bank's president and one of the most influential businessmen in the area. “One of the great names that Dallas built,” his friends noted in his obituary Dallas morning In 1987. They didn't talk about Nesmith-Graham there either. She was responsible for writing down everything Overton did, and for getting it done without a single error. Her obsession with accuracy led her to invent the second-chance liquid: Typex.

If the arrival of the typewriter revolutionized offices, the proofreader caught by the secretary completed that feat. But the light bulb came on far from his desk. In the 1950s, Nesmith-Graham was a single mother: she had just separated from her husband and needed resources to get by. For this reason, far from struggling with keyboards, he supplemented his salary with jobs assigned to him by the bank. One day they had him repaint the wooden window frames to decorate them for Christmas. He moved the pot of white paint and ran the brush in an attempt to hide the imperfections of the previous layer, and saw that the method could also be used to correct writing errors on paper. It was not misleading.

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Kitchen, headquarters

Nesmith Graham took the idea home, locked himself in the kitchen and tried to put some paint on a piece of paper. I worked half-heartedly – it covered the bug, but it was very heavy and took a long time to dry. She found the perfect formula by asking her son's high school chemistry teacher for advice. For five years he used the invention on reports that he had bitten Overton, and other employees would come in to ask for a few drops when they made a mistake. The writer did not decide to sell the product until 1956. He did so under the name Mistake Out. With the help of his son Michael and his friends, he transformed the kitchen at home into the brand's first production center, which they later named Liquid Paper.

The miracles of his corrective fluid spread and orders rose. He soon moved production to a small house he installed in his garden. There he manufactured the product, packaged it, and shipped packages further and further away. In 1967, the invention was already making a profit. He opened a headquarters with a face and eyes and an automated factory to produce a million bottles a year. In 1973, he contacted the giant IBM, which before computers sold typewriters, in case they wanted to buy the product. They refused. The one who agreed to buy the company was Gillette in 1975 for $47.5 million. In 2000, it was changed again and concealer became part of the catalog of Newell Brands, an American consumer goods giant. He still sells it today.

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Tipp-Ex, proofreader for Catalan

However, in Catalonia, the brand that made waves there was Tipp-Ex, hence the word TYPEX, the generic name used to refer to this type of product. The invention is very similar to Nesmith-Graham's, but born in Germany and in a different form. In 1958, chemist Wolfgang Dabish created paper impregnated with a liquid that, when rubbed against the bug, allowed it to be wiped away. Businessman Otto Wilhelm Karls brought it to the market. It was an instant success and many variations were marketed. In 1997, the brand was sold to Bic, the queen of French pens. “It helped him expand his portfolio with a product that still makes sense today, despite the use of computers,” explains Josep Maria Espinet, professor in the field of marketing at the University of Girona (UdG). “The key to success is to solve a common problem with a low-cost product,” the expert concludes.


  • 1951

    Betty Nesmith Graham begins working on creating a corrective fluid

  • 1956

    The entrepreneur begins marketing the product under the name Mistake Out

  • 1967

    Renamed Liquid Paper, the company actually started turning a profit

  • 1975

    With more than 300 employees, the company was sold for $47.5 million to Gillette

  • 2000

    Newell Brands acquired the brand, which is still sold in many countries around the world.

  • 2024

    In Catalonia, the Tipp-Ex brand, a similar product marketed by Bic, has been successful

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