The 3M Company Ltd., formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation based in St. Paul, Minnesota. The company employs 88,000 people worldwide and makes more than 55,000 products including adhesives, abrasives, laminates, dental products, electronic materials, car-care products and optical films.
The company was founded in Two Harbors, Minnesota, in 1902. The firm began by mining stone from quarries for use in grinding wheels.
Struggling with quality and marketing of its products, the management supported its employees to innovate and develop new products, which would become the company’s core business.
In 1914, 3M developed its first exclusive product called Three-M-ite cloth. Other innovations in this era included masking tape, waterproof sandpaper, and Scotch brand tapes.
3M chose the UK for its first expansion outside the US in 1929, distributing abrasives through a partnership with Durex Abrasives Ltd. The UK subsidiary was formally established in 1951. It is currently one of the largest 3M subsidiaries outside the US, employing 3,000 people in 19 locations including 9 manufacturing sites.
Products manufactured in the UK include coated abrasives, personal safety equipment, adhesive tapes, industrial microbiology products, drug delivery systems, passport readers and imaging systems. The company’s head office is in Bracknell, Berkshire.