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3M Celebrates 75 Years of Making Roads Safer

Diamond Grade™ Reflective Sheeting and Stamark™ Pavement Marking Tape among innovations

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 9:38 am CDT


St. Paul, Minn.

Public Company Information:

"We’re excited to share this milestone with our customers and colleagues in the traffic safety industry across the globe"

Ever since the first fully-reflective traffic sign was installed in the U.S. city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1939, 3M innovation has been making roadways around the world safer. This year, 3M is celebrating the 75th anniversary of reflective sheeting and honoring its legacy of traffic safety technology development that today includes high performance materials and comprehensive services.   

Over its three-quarters of a century in the traffic safety industry, 3M has demonstrated that reflective sheeting was only the beginning of its capabilities. Other innovations in the following decades included Centerlite™ Pavement Marking Material, first explored in 1937 and introduced in 1946, which finally gave drivers a centerline material more visible than paint. In the 1950s, the company’s creations included wide-angle, flat-top sheeting for improved visibility, and Reflecto-Lite™ sheeting for license plates. In the 1970s, 3M™ High Intensity Grade Reflective Sheeting was introduced, offering increased durability and three times the brightness of previous materials.

The late 80s saw the introduction of 3M™ Diamond Grade™ Reflective Sheeting, which raised the standard for brightness with its prismatic, microreplicated optics.  Today, this material has evolved into 3M™ Diamond Grade DG3 Reflective Sheeting—with “full cube” technology that produces a material that is nearly twice as bright as other types of prismatic sign sheeting. Additional innovations in recent decades have included durable fluorescent technology for warning signs, 3M™ Stamark™ Pavement Marking Tapes and liquid markings with all-weather technology, and 3M™ Roadway Maintenance Services for asset inventorying, assessment, upgrade and management.

 “We’re excited to share this milestone with our customers and colleagues in the traffic safety industry across the globe,” said Mark Gates, Highway Safety business director, 3M Traffic Safety and Security.  “Over the years, their close collaboration and feedback have helped us continue to improve our products, services and—most importantly—road safety.” 

For more information, visit


About 3M Traffic Safety and Security Division
3M Traffic Safety and Security Division is a global leader in developing products, systems and services for the transportation safety, vehicle registration and management, identification security, electronic monitoring, and library markets. A traffic safety innovator for 75 years, 3M technologies are used to produce high performance prismatic reflective sheeting for traffic signs, a full portfolio of bright and durable pavement markings, reflective materials for work zone applications and vehicle markings, and roadway asset management systems and services. For more information about 3M’s traffic safety solutions, visit

About 3M
3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $31 billion in sales, 3M employs 89,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit or follow @3MNews on Twitter.

3M, Diamond Grade, Stamark, Centerlite and Reflecto-Lite are trademarks of 3M.