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Did You Know Superglue Was Invented by Accident?

Hey there! Did you know that Superglue was actually invented by accident? Check out this fascinating story!

Did You Know Superglue Was Invented by Accident?

When Was Superglue Invented?

If you've ever found yourself in a situation where you need to quickly fix a broken item, it's likely that you've turned to superglue. This incredibly strong adhesive has saved countless items from the garbage bin, but have you ever wondered when it was first invented? In this article, we'll take a closer look at the origins of superglue and how it has become a fixture in our lives.

The Origins of Superglue

The idea of a super-strong adhesive that could bond different materials together came about during World War II. Scientists were looking for an alternative to traditional adhesives that were proving to be ineffective in certain situations. They wanted an adhesive that would be able to withstand extreme conditions such as heat and moisture.

It wasn't until 1942 that Dr. Harry Coover and his team discovered the formula for what we now know as superglue. They were working on a heat-resistant plastic for jet canopies when they stumbled upon the sticky substance that had the ability to bond materials together almost instantly.

However, the team didn't realize the potential of their discovery until several years later.

Harry Coover's Invention

After the war ended, Coover and his team continued their research on the substance they had discovered. They found that it was too sticky and difficult to handle in its original form, so they put it aside.

It wasn't until 1951, when Coover was working at the chemical company, Eastman Kodak, that he had the opportunity to revisit the substance. He realized that it could be developed into a powerful adhesive that would bond materials together quickly and easily.

The new adhesive was made by heating up the original compound and adding a solvent to it. This caused the molecules to link together, forming a strong and durable bond. Coover filed for a patent for this new adhesive, which was granted in 1955. However, it took a few more years before the adhesive was marketed as a commercial product.

Commercial Success

In 1958, Eastman Kodak released the adhesive under the name "Eastman 910". It was marketed primarily to the aerospace and jewelry industries because of its ability to bond metal and plastic materials together. However, it was also used in various other applications such as in the automotive and medical industries.

The success of Eastman 910 led to other companies developing their own versions of the adhesive. Today, superglue is a household name and can be found in most hardware stores and supermarkets. It's used to repair everything from broken pottery to torn shoes.

In conclusion, superglue may have been discovered accidentally, but it has become one of the most useful inventions of the 20th century. Thanks to the persistence of Harry Coover and his team, we now have an adhesive that has revolutionized the way we fix and bond objects together.

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When Was Superglue Invented?

Superglue, also known as cyanoacrylate adhesive, was invented in 1942 by Dr. Harry Coover Jr. and his team of scientists at Eastman Kodak. At the time, Dr. Coover was working on an adhesive that could be used to create clear plastic gun sights for the war effort. However, the adhesive was much stronger than expected, and its use in the war was limited.

The real breakthrough for superglue came in the 1950s when Dr. Coover returned to his research on cyanoacrylates. He discovered that the adhesive was ideal for closing wounds during surgery, as it could create an airtight seal and prevent bleeding. The medical community quickly adopted the use of superglue, and it became a staple in operating rooms around the world.

The Chemistry of Superglue

Superglue works by forming a strong bond when exposed to moisture. When the adhesive comes into contact with water molecules present on the surface of materials being bonded, a chemical reaction occurs. The reaction causes the liquid adhesive to solidify into a hard, durable bond.

The bond formed by superglue is very strong. It can hold up to 3,000 pounds per square inch, making it one of the strongest adhesives available. The fast-drying formula of superglue also makes it very popular in DIY projects, as it dries within seconds of application.

Uses of Superglue

Superglue is used in a variety of applications, from repairing broken items around the house to sealing incisions in surgery. It is commonly used in automotive repairs, particularly in sealing leaks in engines and transmissions. It can also be used to bond a wide range of materials, including glass, metal, rubber, and plastic.

In addition to its uses in the automotive and medical industries, superglue is popular in crafting and DIY projects. It can be used to create jewelry, repair ceramic items, and even to make fly fishing lures.


While superglue is a helpful adhesive, it should be used with caution. The formula is very strong and can bond skin and clothing together, resulting in painful removal. If you accidentally get superglue on your skin, it can be removed using acetone or nail polish remover.

Additionally, superglue should be kept away from eyes, mouth, and skin. Inhalation of the fumes can cause irritation to the respiratory system. If swallowed, seek immediate medical attention.

Overall, superglue is a versatile adhesive that has been widely used for decades. Its strength and fast-drying formula make it a popular choice for DIY enthusiasts and professionals alike.

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The Impact of Superglue on Society

New Possibilities for DIY Repairs

Superglue, also known as cyanoacrylate adhesive, was invented in 1942 by Harry Coover during his research on clear plastic gun sights for the military. However, its commercial value was not realized until years later when it was marketed as a strong and fast-drying adhesive for a variety of materials.

One of the major impacts of superglue on society is its ability to make DIY repairs easier and more affordable. With the use of superglue, people can fix items at home instead of having to pay for expensive professional services. A small drop of superglue can bond materials like plastic, metal, and wood together in seconds, which can save time and money in the long run. Small cracks in car parts, broken toys, jewelry, and other household items can be easily fixed by anyone at home with a bottle of superglue. This has empowered people to take control of their repairs and boosted confidence in their ability to fix things on their own.

Advancements in Medical Procedures

Superglue's strong bonding properties have also been useful in the medical industry in reducing the need for traditional stitches and making certain procedures less invasive. Medical professionals have discovered that a drop of superglue can seal small wounds together and promote quick healing. This method, known as cyanoacrylate tissue adhesive, can be used in place of stitches for small cuts and incisions, and is more comfortable for patients.

Moreover, superglue has also been beneficial in emergency medical situations where stitches are not viable. It has been used in field conditions or in situations where access to a hospital may be difficult. The fast-drying adhesive qualities of superglue have been able to help stop bleeding in open wounds and provide a temporary seal until the patient can be admitted to a hospital.

Environmental Concerns

Despite its many benefits, the use of superglue has raised concerns over its impact on the environment. Superglue can be difficult to dispose of and can harm wildlife if not properly disposed of. The adhesive can stick to surfaces and tools, making them unusable and causing waste. It is important to follow proper disposal protocol and avoid throwing it in the trash or flushing it down the drain as it can harm water systems and wildlife. Disposing of superglue in a designated hazardous waste collection center or facility is the best way to ensure its proper disposal and prevent environmental damage.

Overall, superglue has had a significant impact on society, from making DIY repairs more accessible to improving medical procedures. While it has raised environmental concerns, proper disposal can mitigate its impact and ensure that it continues to benefit society in the future.

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The Future of Superglue

Improved Formulas

Superglue has been around for over 70 years, and its popularity shows no signs of waning. As technology advances, scientists are still dedicated to developing improved formulations of this adhesive. Improved formulas of superglue aim to bond to an even wider variety of materials and provide even stronger bonds. Such breakthroughs in adhesive formulations will pave the way to help industries such as engineering, medicine and aerospace achieve better solutions to address their needs.

With the advent of stronger temperature-resistance, water-resistant and fast-setting options, scientists continue to remain focused on superglue research to enhance the performance of adhesives in industrial applications. Improved formulas of superglue contribute to the success of industries that rely heavily on high-performance adhesives such as automotive industries, medical and electronics industries.

New Applications

Superglue was initially invented for military applications during the Second World War. However, over time, new applications for it have been developed. These days, there are several emerging applications of superglue that are constantly being discovered, and they're expected to become widely used in the near future.

One example is the development of flexible electronics. Superglue is being used in the manufacturing process of this new technology. It is used because it has the ability to bond the electronic parts with high precision and holds up well against harsh environment elements like high humidity and pressure.

Another emerging application is in the medical field, where superglue is used to bond tissue during surgery. The adhesive is used in surgeries that require a quick sticking solution, particularly for minor traumatic injuries. In addition, the adhesive is being tested in clinical trials in spinal cord repair, with successful early results.

Sustainability Concerns

As the world's population increases, and we become all too aware of the environmental impact of industrial growth, sustainable solutions for industrial applications such as adhesives become increasingly important. Scientists are developing more sustainable alternatives to traditional superglues that aim to work effectively and are environmentally friendly.

Sustainability is the key factor that the industry is looking to achieve. The use of bio-adhesives is one of the most compelling alternatives. The development of bio-adhesives is both sustainable and effective as they are derived from nature and are environmentally friendly. Moreover, these bio-adhesives are biodegradable, unlike traditional superglues which are not biodegradable.

Scientists are looking for ways to optimize the use of renewable resources, whether derived from plants or bacteria, to create strong and sustainable adhesives. There has been encouraging progress made in the development of such adhesives as they are equally effective and can be used for the same industrial purposes as traditional superglues.


The future of superglue looks bright, with continued development of improved formulations, and new and emerging applications. These innovations help industrial and scientific fields reach better solutions in their operations. Superglue adhesives are simple, yet powerful, and by way of their continued use and development, they are expected to remain an indispensable part of our future.

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