Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Backstory: An Ode to Legal Pads -- and a Chance to Win



More than a century ago, back in 1888,
Paper scraps were thrown away,
Being considered second rate.
They called them sortings
Thomas Holley saw the waste
He took his motley hoardings
Glued them in a stack
Sold them in a pack
And thus the legal pad was born,
A boon to some, to some a thorn.
Iconic with its one and a quarter trim
Tall and narrow, perfectly slim,
That margin created for a judge's notes,
But I like these pads for my anecdotes.
Basic yellow contrasts so well with blue ink,
The clarity appeals to me,
And even helps me think.

I hate spiral bound notebooks. They're too flimsy and you can't use the total area. Composition notebooks are great for taking notes at conferences. Their stiff covers add support for when you're writing without a surface.

But for making lists, for working through problems, give me a legal pad any day. Something about them spurs my creativity.

What about you? Do you like legal pads?

Comment on this post before Friday and you could win a 12-pack of legal pads.

http://boingboing.net/2006/09/19/inventing-the-yellow.html
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4673512






 

46 comments:

Liz-YYZ said...

That is so interesting! I never knew it was due to the ingenuity of creating a product out of "waste". Talk about recycling LOL! Love the old time yellow scratchy paper legal pad, it reminds me of college. Loved using blue roller ball ink on scratchy yellow paper to really sink in my notes :-) Thanks again for another informative post!!

Kathy said...

What is better than a yellow legal pad and a classic blue bic pen? Fun backstory. TFS

Jess said...

Very cool information!! I love paper pads of any kind! I keep a legal pad at my work station! I am a paper person. I keep notes, planners on paper. I can't keep notes or plans on my phone.

Karen Moffatt said...

I still use these even though I am very tech happy. There's something about making a list and crossing it off that is very satisfying.

Joanne Kocourek said...

I had no knowledge of the history. Quite interesting. I do use legal pads for a variety of tasks.

Tona said...

Interesting backstory on legal pads. I love them. Thanks for the chance to win some.

Linda Donahue said...

I love legal pads. I've used them at almost every place I've worked. My favorites are the ones with the narrower lines so I can write more on a page.

LeighAnn Rebillard said...

I too love legal pads. I hate spiral notebooks

Gram said...

They are very handy for jotting notes, grocery lists, etc. i love them!

Ellen said...

I like something a bit smaller. Right now I have a month-by-month set of 2016 calendar notebooks the store was selling for a song. Mainly, because it was 2017. I can ignore the date. Perfect for stuffing in the purse.

Liza Willis said...

I didn't know that is legal pads started. I love that it was a recycling effort. I will have to use them more.

Sewsa said...

I enjoyed the backstory I'd legal pads. I like making notes or sketches on legal pads.

Diane Telford said...

Love the story and I had a Professor during a class on color, tell us that you were more likely to remember what you wrote if it was on yellow paper. I do think that that idea gets less so as age sets in...maybe the yellow isn't the same as 50 years ago...

Dana said...

I am more of a comp notebook or journal type of person. I currently am in love with the Create 365 (meant to be used as a planner) and use the lined pages for all my note taking and lists. Lots of fun things you can do with it.

Karen in Kentucky said...

I like legal pads too, but I always bought pink ones!
KarenP3720@aol.com

Dianna Vosburgh said...

I love paper pads of any size. I love your books. I am wondering what do you do with all the mini rooms that you create. I love watching progress. I just don't know how you make all the fine details. I made my girls a Barbie house years ago, and it turned out very good. Even entered a doll house show, but some of the items you make are amazing.

Linda Guss said...

I love using legal pads. I agree that it is so much easier to see the ink.

Victoria H said...

Wow! I didn't know that. So interesting. I like using legal pads too.

Dana Bulla said...

How interesting. Used thrm for years working for sn attorney. I prefer them these days.

cflathers said...

I prefer composition notebooks, even have a Kindle cover that looks like a composition notebook. My students think that is funny since I make them get 2 composition notebooks. My husband, however, prefers the yellow legal pad.

Debi Murray said...

I wrote my first book on legal pads. Still like them.

Patti said...

I did not know the origin of paper pads.I like using a legal pad. Found a rainbow pastel pad at Wal-Mart and now that I'm running out I can't find it again anywhere, it went so well with my multi-color inks in fountain pens.

Debra Fulton said...

I have a "thing" about office supplies. I love them!

Sue Turnbeau said...

Legal pads are so good for list making! Can't imagine not using them.

Michelle said...

It's been a long time since I thought about legal pads. I used to buy the pink ones (what can I say, I was writing romance back then) but shifted to using hardback journals for everything. It felt more permanent and that made me happy. These days, I'm keeping most of my notes in my bullet journal and buying spiral bound notebooks by the case for my kids.

SR Adamson said...

I love notepads! In our house we try to reuse all our "waste" paper and a piece of paper doesn't get thrown away until it's been written on both sides. All the notes from school and letters get put in a one-sided tray so we can use the back as our scrap pile for shopping lists, to-do lists and more. Now my daughter's even saving the paper written on both sides as a summer project to recycle and make her own paper! We love to reuse!

Joanna Slan said...

Gosh, I guess I'd qualify this post as a hit! Thank you all for responding. Glad to know I'm not alone in my love of legal pads.

Joanna Slan said...

Dianna, about my mini rooms...they are scattered around my house. One guest said, "It was like waking up and being Gulliver. All those little houses!" As for the details, like everything we do, I'm getting better and better as I practice.

Joanna Slan said...

Ellen, I also love the smaller sized legal pads. They'll fit in a purse neatly.

Frances Walker said...

I love legal pads. I have many in different sizes. Small, to fit in my purse, large, for making notes at work.

Marla Husovsky said...

I love legal pads! Do you know why? They don't fall APART! My biggest peeve with spiral bound notebooks is that they the covers become disconnected from the spiral and before you know it, the back is flapping around and the papers get torn. I travel for work, so I much prefer legal pads!

Kim S said...

I enjoy a good legal pad, but I love to find them in other colors as well. Found some small ones on neon colors. Fun at work LOL

Tracy Barcus said...

I love them too! I do become more creative, something about the limitations of the cover, feels like a wall. There so much room to doodle and add notes! ��

Tracy Barcus said...

I totally think that's it!

Margo Bittner said...


I love legal pads -- I have them in all kinds of sizes and colors. My husband keeps finding them all over the house.

Diana said...

I simply love papers of every description. You can do so many things. My house has a blizzard of papers. Now my 8 year old grandson is following in my footsteps...Oragami!

Vicki Highley said...

How coo, I love learning trivit about items I love legal pads, they are easier to store and I don't have to worry about the bits of paper when I rear out a page.

Ann Mettert said...

I love legal pads. My black fine point and a nice legal pad go very well together. ��It may not be really true, but I feel like I'm more creative using them.

Billie Jackson said...

I used my love of legal pads to advantage in my teaching. I provided yellow and white legal pads that they could use for their first draft and most of them loved it. Most high school students hate drafting (we didn't have computers available to teachers or students) so I also bought colored pads they could use for the 2nd draft. It is amazing how many more students were willing to go through the process of proofing and editing to get to use a purple or blue pad. A few stuck with the yellow or white and a few stuck with loose leave notebook paper but noone chose spiral.

I am retired so I am NOT participating in the contest but what a dream it would have been back then. My husband and I now use smaller pads for our notes and shopping lists.

ceblain said...

This wonderful article was real trip down Memory Lane. I worked as a legal assistant for many years after college and in the 60's and early to mid 70's there were no electronic devices on which to make notes so legal pads and "shorthand" pads we're my go to items. Notes would then be typed up and the paperwork was stored in appropriate folders. No matter how good a system for filing you had, notepads and legal pads we're wonderful for notes. One of the lawyers that I worked for worked a lot of night hours and he would write out on legal pads what he wanted transcribed and typed up the next morning. That meant a lot of time spent with legal pads. To this day I miss having them especially when I write out lists. My husband has taken over the grocery shopping as I gave been physically unable to do it myself. When I get my lusts ready for him I have to use the longest paper possible because if I continue the list of items onto the back of the list I very often don't get those things even with arrows and "see reverse side". So it would be extremely helpful if I were to receive the legal pads as I gave some very long grocery lists coming up as well as "Honey Do" wishes and projects that I definitely don't want to have to put on the back of a small noteoad....I need long length yellow pads to make sure nothing gets overlooked. It would be so much better than taping paper together as I do now!!!! Thank you for considering me and just know how much these pads will be appreciated to ensure my requests are seen far better than they are now.
Thank you so much.
Cynthia B

ceblain said...

Excuse comical mistakes such as lusts/lists as I just had failed eye surgery. So sorry as it was not meant to be rude. Should have tried to check better. So sorry.

Susan Carter said...

I am a legal pad gal, too! Notebooks never get filled and I do not like to tear out the paper. Thank you for the opportunity! Happy ����Fourth!

Tricia Conner said...

Great history lesson! I like legal pads for taking notes. They are all in one place and in order. They are also great for doodling, lists, etc.

Thanks for the chance to win some!

Estelle from Hernando, MS said...

I use legal pads all the time. I keep one handy for making notes about scrapbooking and/or card making. Also keeping a list of You Tubes I want to watch.

Joanna Slan said...

I'm so loving all these great comments. On my Facebook page, somebody said, "What an odd giveaway!"

But really, it's not odd at all. It makes me so, so happy to share the things I love with all of you...and it looks like we have a mutual admiration society when it comes to legal pads.

Joanna Slan said...

Karen Moffatt-- you won!
Please email me at jcslan@joannaslan.com
(If you don't hear back, also email Sally, my assistant, at SALFL27@att.net) because things get caught in my spam filter.
I used a random number generator to pick Karen's name. Thank you all!