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Who Invented Super Glue?

Written by Naman Anil Kumar, a grade 7 student (written in December 2020)

Super Glue was invented accidentally by Harry Coover, a chemist in a company called Eastman Kodak. He and his team were given a task to find a suitable plastic for making a gun sight…

By I Kid You Not , in Facts to Know People Science , at December 11, 2020 Tags: , , ,

Written by Naman Anil Kumar, a grade 7 student (written in December 2020)

Super Glue was invented by accident by a person named Harry Coover, a chemist in a company called Eastman Kodak.

We take superglue for granted. However, it was not always there and was invented quite by accident.

Here’s the interesting story

Who invented Super Glue

Super Glue, as mentioned above was invented by accident.

Harry Coover, a chemist in a company called Eastman Kodak, and his team were given a task to find a suitable plastic for making a gun sight (it’s a part that helps in aligning while loading a gun) at the time of World War II.

During their research, they were working with a chemical known as cyanoacrylate (now another name for super glue).

While working with these chemicals, the researchers discovered that it was extremely sticky, and this property made it very difficult to work with as they got stuck to everything. While making it, the cyanoacrylate splashed everywhere and damaged some equipment (because the glue could not be removed).

They then abandoned cyanoacrylates as an option and moved on with their research.

Fast forward nine years..

Nine years later, Coover was sent to another Kodak company called Kodak Tennessee – it was the company’s chemical plant. There he was asked to find heat-resistant polymers (like plastics)  for jet planes. This is when Coover realized that his earlier accidental invention would be perfect. This is how the superglue was born.

You May Not Know this: The interesting thing is that this superglue was not only used for sticking things but was also very helpful in treating war wounds.

During the Vietnam War, doctors began using it on open wounds, which stopped bleeding right away. This saved many lives during the war, but not only that. Cyanoacrylate found its way into many medical uses, especially in surgery, like dental surgery or rejoining veins and arteries during other surgeries, and also stopping the bleeding of some soft organs, etc.

Thanks to Harry Coover many lives are being saved even today!

Who was Harry Coover?

Image Credit
By the White House (via Wikipedia commons)

Dr. Harry Wesley Coover was the inventor of Eastman 910 which is commonly known as super glue. Apart from this, Dr. Coover also invented many other things. He held 460 patents in all.

 He discovered “programmed innovation” which is one of the important methods in research and development.

  • He was also a consultant for international management and gave advice to corporate clients.
  • He was honored with many awards which include Maurice Holland Award, IRI Achievement Award, and Earle B. Barnes Award. In 2004, Coover was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.  In 2010, Coover received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
  • He died in March 2011

Now let’s learn some super things about superglue.
Superglue is glue that can stick the objects that normal glue can’t stick.

Precautions that should be taken before using superglue:

  1. Try not to make the superglue fall on any part of the body. You can’t take it out
  2. Never ever put the superglue in your eyes. Not by mistake also.
  3. Don’t try to stick a paper using Superglue. It will burn the paper.
  4. Never give Superglue to a child which is below 7. It can eat the superglue and can die because of the poisonous chemical in it.

The next time when you use the Superglue, remember Harry Coover.


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