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Which Item Was Invented by A Secretary and Later Sold For $47 Million Dollars?

Let me answer your most frequently asked question, which item was invented by a secretary and later sold for $47 million dollars?

Bette Nesmith Graham’s history

It all started with a question about selling a unique item “Which item was invented by a secretary and later sold for $47 million dollars?”. In the 1950s, like other women, Bette Nesmith Graham used to live as a secretary.

She always kept making mistakes and also was not good at typing. She started painting her mistakes by mixing ingredients such a

  • tempera water-based paint
  • sticky adhesive colors etc.

These all activities were performed by her in a kitchen blender. Immediately, she started to market her typewriting correction in the form of “Mistake out.” Later, in 1979, she changed its name to “Liquid Paper.”

Selling of the Liquid Paper

The answer to the most famous question, i.e. Which item was invented by a secretary and later sold for $47 million dollars? , remained unknown for a long time. But finally, it came out that it was Liquid paper sold to the Gillette Corporation for 47 million dollars. 

Bette Nesmith had a son named Michael Nesmith. He also finds fame as a member of the rock band “The Monkees.” The liquid paper was actually the common correction fluid by Bette Nesmith when she worked at Texas Bank as a secretary.

Frustrating mistakes of Bette Nesmith Graham

Ms. Bette becomes more anxious and frustrated with not being able to correct the mistakes. She tried to remove her anger by using white tempera paint and a watercolor brush. This painted liquid paper was sold to Gillette for the consideration of 47 million dollars in 1979.

Interesting Facts about Liquid Paper

Some of the facts about this liquid paper are as follows:

  1. It has been over 50 years and is still in use.
  2. It reduces the time and effort needed to correct mistakes on paper.
  3. It is typically a water-based correction fluid.
  4. It was invented by Ms. Bette on her own when she worked as a secretary.
  5. Ms. Bette was fired from her job in charge after the invention of her liquid paper.
  6. This paper turned out to be worth it as it was sold for 47 million dollars in 1979.

The invention of Liquid Paper

After Ms. Bette invented liquid paper, she became an executive worth $25 million by the company she worked for. As she made many mistakes in her life, she started to write down her mistakes to avoid their consequences in the future.

She desperately needed a way to get rid of her mistakes or at least correct them. Some other information related to Bette was as

  • She was 30 years old when she earned 300 a month at Texas Bank.
  • Bette supported her family, and she was paying her bills due to this job.
  • Bette used printed stuff on paper to note down her errors before the invention of a word processor (like MS Word) and typewriters.

Prior, there were several benefits of writing over a writing pad by hand: Once some word is written on paper, it cannot be removed. Other benefits are

  • Writing by pen on hard paper is a sort of hard work and remains evidence of errors.
  • Nesmith’s silly mistakes could only be minimized if she memorized not to repeat them.
  • By ignoring regular mistakes, Bette could hold on to her nerves.

How was Bette able to make worth 47 million dollars item?

Initially, Bette never thought to produce such an item that could be sold in the market. Her regular mistakes were getting on her head and making her job hard. She went into fear of

  • Losing job
  • Getting depression
  • Being anxious etc.

Therefore, Bette tried different methods to correct her mistakes, but all went in vain. At last, she came to know a magical way of fixing the mistakes that now most people often ask as: “Which item was invented by a secretary and later sold for 47 million dollars?”

It was a unique liquid paper created by her with white tempera paint and a watercolor brush. This self-invention made her life easier and a lot much better than before. 

How do people come to know about Liquid paper?

Bette was completely unaware of her magical invention, which would make her filthy rich. When the liquid paper was invented, she even herself was not impressed by its capabilities of writing her mistakes. 

People came to know about her typo mistakes when she put the tempera paint into a bottle and took it to the office. She was keen to work for herself and the betterment of society. Her son Michael gifted her a green bottle at home. 

This bottle was named “Mistake Out,” and its significance was as

  • Whenever she made an error, she put a small amount of tempera paint from that water-based bottle.
  • In addition, she generally used to write and match the color of stationery which she loved at her workplace.


So, the whole story of the question: Which item was invented by a secretary and later sold for $47 million dollars? summed up to know that it was a “Liquid paper.” In 1979, a New York City ad Agency’s secretary was fired when she was caught red-handed using the copier of its employer to make numerous copies of her own invention. The company sued and won. But the inventing woman had already said goodbye to the company before the suit was settled. She later started her own company that successfully turned into a 25-million-dollar business over time with more than 100 employees working at a time in it. 



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