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Who Invented Superglue?

Written by Naman Anil Kumar, a grade 7 student.

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 People Science , at December 11, 2020 Tags: , , ,

Written by Naman Anil Kumar, a grade 7 student

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

Here’s the interesting story

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 (it’s a part that helps in aligning while loading a gun)  at the time of first World War.

During their research, they mixed some compounds and created something called cyanoacrylate – another name for super glue. While making it, the cyanoacrylate splashed everywhere and damaged some equipment (because the glue could not be removed).

Nine years later, Coover went to another Kodak company called Kodak Tennessee. 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.

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 and eventually it led to cyanoacrylate being used for certain medical uses – like rejoining veins and arteries during surgery, stopping the bleeding of some soft organs, and also use during dental surgery. 

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 the 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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