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Patsy Sherman was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1930. After college graduation, she joined 3M as a research chemist and was assigned to work on fluorochemical polymers. Her work was an essential part of the introduction of 3M’s first stain repellent and soil release textile treatments which have grown into an entire family of products known as Scotchgard® protectors.

Sherman regards the serendipitous discovery of Scotchgard® as one of her most significant works because many experts had written that such a product was "thermodynamically impossible." That day in the lab is legendary. Sherman and her colleague, Sam Smith, were working on another project when they observed that an accidental spill on a white tennis shoe would not wash off nor would solvent remove it. The area resisted soiling. They recognized the commercial potential of its application to fabrics during manufacture and by the consumer at home. So go ahead and put your feet up… the dirt will wash off.

Sherman was inducted into the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame in 1983.