Nugget of Knowledge: Yellow for legal pads

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Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – Why are legal pads yellow?

Thomas Holly invented the legal pads in 1888 with his company in Massachusetts.

As for the yellow color, we are not sure. There is a belief that the color yellow is easier on the eyes and has less glare than white paper.

Another theory is that it was chosen because yellow paper doesn’t show age like white paper can. The color also is known to stimulate minds and call up creativity.

What about the red margin?

Around 1900, a judge asked Holley to add a vertical line down the left side of the paper so he could have a margin where he could take notes.

The margin is known as the down line. It is always red and drawn a quarter of an inch from the left edge of the paper.

The red margin is the only requirement for a pad to qualify as a legal pad.

A legal pad can be any color, as long as the red down line is visible and drawn exactly one quarter of an inch from the left edge of the page.

We call it a legal pad simply because a judge is the one who asked for it and the name stuck.

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