>thursday afternoon musings

>Why are legal pads yellow?

Did someone just wake up one morning and say, “I know…yellow…”

This must be investigated. Let me call upon the “Series of Tubes”…

AH! Here we go.

Dear Yahoo!:
Why are legal pads yellow?
Chris
Middletown, New York
Dear Chris:
A company called the American Pad and Paper Company, or Ampad, claims to have invented the legal pad in 1888. A young inventor named Thomas Holley made the tablets from cheap leftovers, or sortings, from paper mills. His low-cost lined pads were quickly adopted by the scribbling professions, and the legal pad was born. AMPAD made business headlines a few years ago when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. But fortunately, the Plano, Texas, based company was bought out of extinction, and now sells an array of office products, including EnviroTech Dual Purpose Legal Pads, made from 100% recycled materials.As for their distinctive hue, an article in IS Magazine claims that, “The yellow legal pad — a must among lawyers, executives, students, writers and thinkers of all sorts — was devised specifically because yellow was thought to be a color which stimulated the intellect.” The piece goes on to mention that F. Scott Fitzgerald was a big fan.Though we couldn’t verify the claim (considering AMPAD’s origins as a discount retailer, perhaps yellow dye was simply the cheapest?), in general dark text on a light background is considered optimal for reading. And yellow tends to be easier on the eyes than a harsh white background, a fact that 3M took to heart when they invented the Post-it note.

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