Glue, the material that bonds us together

Most of us will use some sort of glue-based product at least once a day or perhaps a product that has been created with the adhesive powers of glue. With everything for your standard craft glue to fabric glue, super glue and even metal bonding adhesive like the ones you can find at glue really does play an important role in our lives and has done for thousands of years. It is thought that the earliest known natural glue was used around 200,000 years ago and came in the form of birch bark tar and it was used in Italy to help bind stones together.

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A natural glue was also used during prehistoric times to join together arrowheads made of stone to a wooden arrow and also stone axe head to the wooden handle. It was not until Egyptian times though that there are some of the first recording of using glue. There are hieroglyphs that show the sealing of the great Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s casket with a glue type resin from an animal origin. It wasn’t until around 1690 in Holland that the first commercial glue plant was created with a glue patent being granted in Britain in 1750 and in the US in 1876.

Glues can be categorised in a number of ways. They can be split according to their make-up with glue being from a natural origin, either plant or animal based, and adhesives being originated from a synthetic source. They can also be defined according to how they react – this is where you get difference in drying time, the pressure needed to help the glue bond and heat such as glue guns.

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One of the reasons why glues and adhesives are so effective is because they come into contact with the surface that is to be bonded to in a liquid state and then during the drying, cooling and bonding process the glues turns into a strong solid state as it hardens. This is what gives it its binding and bonding qualities.

It is thought that just a square inch of today’s superglue can hold up to one ton in weight! This modern marvel was actually first established in 1942 when Harry Coover who was an American invented accidentally created cyanoacrylate which is what we know as superglue. He finally released the product into the commercial market in 1958.

Author: Kei Taylor

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