Bette Nesmith Graham was a single mother in the 1950s who took a job as a typist at a bank. At that time, all typists worked on electric typewriters, and they had to be very careful not to make mistakes since there was no easy way to fix them.

But, Bette Nesmith Graham had an idea! One night she went home and using her blender and some white tempera paint that she used for decorating the bank’s windows at Christmas, she came up with a mixture that was perfect for covering up mistakes. She put the mixture in a little bottle and took it, and a small artist’s paint brush, to work. When she made a mistake, she dipped the brush into the bottle, and painted over the mistake. The other typists saw how easily it could fix mistakes and wanted some of the mixture for themselves. She mixed up batches in the evenings, and sold bottles of the mixture to the other typists. She called the mixture “Mistake Out”.

In 1956, she was fired from her job when she accidently put her own company name – “Mistake Out” – on a piece of paperwork instead of the bank’s name. So, she started making her product full time, and she changed the name to “Liquid Paper”. Her son’s chemistry teacher helped her make the formula better. By 1968, her company was profitable, and, in 1979, she sold it to the Gillette Company for $47.5 million dollars. “Liquid Paper” is still sold today under the Papermate brand.