Harry Coover, creator of Super Glue, died on Saturday at age 94. Coover stumbled upon the chemical, called cyanoacrylate, in 1942 while developing gun sights for Eastman Kodak. From the Washington Post:
“The damn problem was everything was sticking to everything else,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2005. “We had a hard time using it in molds.”
In 1951, Dr. Coover was testing a heat-resistant polymer for use in aircraft windshields when he remembered his encounter with cyanoacrylate.
When a colleague permanently bonded the lenses of an expensive optical instrument with a droplet of the liquid, Dr. Coover had an epiphany.
He found that the compound solidified after coming into contact with trace amounts of moisture, creating an extremely strong polymer layer between two surfaces.
“It suddenly struck me that what we had was not a casting material but a super glue,” he said in 2005.
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