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Who Invented Glue?

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The age of glue in the human history is actually over 200,000 years. Humans have used glue even before they invented the art of writing. Therefore, when glue was used first by humans, there were no mail envelopes or stamps to stick. Owing to this fact, it is rather very hard to say who actually invented glue. Most types of glue used in the early human history were plant saps or animal extracts. Some of the artifacts discovered at the site of some of the most ancient civilizations of the world bear testimony for the use of glue for sticking.

The Babylonian empire

Historical evidences tell us that glue was a very common commodity in the Babylonian empire. The other cultures that report the use of glue during the olden days include the Roman, Egyptian and the Greeks. One of the most common type of glue that humans have known for centuries is the flour and water combination. Sometimes, wheat flour and eggs were used for adhesive needs.

Peter CooperPeter Cooper. © Brown Brothers.

The modern glue

Talking about a few hundred years ago in the glue industry, we can make a mention about Peter Cooper who is said to have invented the modern glue. He made glue from animals like fish. Following this significant instance, several manufacturers came out with alternative ideas for manufacturing glue and obtained patent for their processes.

The first glue factory

Writing about the history of glue during the modern times, we certainly need to mark the opening of the first glue factory in 1700s at Holland. Even in the early factories, glue was manufactured from natural plant and animal extracts. The advent of synthetic polymer during the early 20th century revolutionized the glue industry. Synthetic polymers made better adhesives that stayed much longer. In fact, it was economical and easy to produce them. Scientific and technological developments have brought in a number of advancements in the glue industry since then.

Dr. Harry CooverDr. Harry Coover receiving the National Medal of Science for his invention. ©AFP/Getty Images.

Dr. Harry Coover

Dr. Harry Coover invented what was called as super glue in the year 1942. Made out of a synthetic material called cyanoacrylate, the super glue could give a stronger type of adhesive solution across a range of domestic and industrial needs. Strangely enough, cyanoacrylate was considered a useless material creating nuisance since it was found sticking to every material that it came in contact with. Today, we have a variety of types in glue meeting the various human needs ranging from just sticking two pieces of paper to attaching the tiles of the temperature resistant shields in rockets and space launchers.

Keeping papers together: The paper clip and stapler.