The Sticky History of Super Glue

Simon Whistler of Today I Found Out looked back at how the amazing connective qualities of Super Glue were discovered almost by accident.

Superglue, along with duct tape and WD40 it is an essential component of any toolkit perfect for repairing everything everything from a chipped coffee mug to a cracked fingernail to that beloved toy the kids played with a little too roughly. …love it or hate it superglue is one of the most successful adhesives in the world.

The adhesive was discovered when inventor Harry Coover was working as a chemist at Eastman Kodak. While experimenting with cyanoacrylate, Coover’s colleague Fred Joyner put a drop onto the prisms of a refractor, only to find that it instantly bonded the prisms together.

…Fred Joyner attempted to measure the optical properties of formulation 910 by spreading the compound between the prisms of a machine called a refractor. to his horror, however, the compound immediately cured, permanently bonding the prisms together. As one of his colleagues later recalled, he ruined the machine.

Joyner may have ruined the machine, but his discovery made by the incident allowed both Coover and him to apply for and receive a patent for a very lucrative idea, complete with unique marketing campaigns and multiple uses.

Trom these humble beginnings superglue spread quickly around the world reaching all seven continents by the 1970s. In addition to assisting ordinary people making minor household repairs and model makers sticking their projects together, superglue has also found applications in some sometimes unexpected fields. Rock climbers and guitar players use it to toughen their fingers, or to fix minor cuts and scrapes, veterinarians use it to mend broken turtle shells, while in forensic science CYO acrylate vapor is used to reveal latent fingerprints.

Super Glue History