Inventors are inspirational. Patsy O’Connell Sherman was an inventor and chemist. Patsy O’Connell Sherman was the co-inventor, with Samuel Smith, of Scotchgard, a 3M brand of products, a stain repellent and durable water repellent.
Patsy was born on September 15, 1930 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In high school she took a disappointing aptitude test for girls and requested to take the test given to boys. She went from the result of housewife to a career choice of dentist or scientist. She went on to attend Gustavus Adolphus Vollege in St. Peter, Minnesota. She went on to become the first female graduate with a B.S. in chemistry and mathematics in 1952. She took a job as a scientist at 3M. Sherman and Smith were working with fluorochemical rubber when there was an accidental spill on an assistant’s tennis shoe. They went from trying to remove the spill to deciding it could be used as a protectant from spills. They ended up with a patent for what became Scotchguard in 1971. Other products were later made and Sherman received sixteen more patents, thirteen of which were shared with Samuel Smith.
Patsy O’Connell married Hubert Sherman. They had two daughters. Patsy worked at 3M and became manager of technical development until she retired in 1992. She’s received many honors, including induction into 3M’s Carlton Society in 1974, the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame in 1989, and the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2001. Her daughters went into scientific fields as well.
Sherman died on February 11, 2008 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She wanted everyone to realize that sometimes the unexpected can have very good results. She felt people need to remain open and explore the unexpected. Be inspired! Have a bright day!