The Origin of Glue and Super Glue

The Origin of Glue and Super Glue

The origin of the glue is lost in prehistory. The reason is obvious, getting to talk to someone who is a thousand miles away is difficult, and it requires a relatively advanced technology. Getting two things to stick using some substance just requires looking around and thinking for a while, and not too long.

Therefore, the concept of glue, in its most primitive form, was discovered multiple times in different places, with varied successes, and it is impossible to give an exact date of its first use. If we talk about super glue, we are well aware of the fact that it was discovered by Dr. Harry Coover in 1942. You can visit this site to know more about super glue. If you have ever noticed how your fingers were stuck and clingy after touching the resin of a pine or any other resinous tree, honey or water with sugar, you know what I mean.

The first documented use we know is really old, so that not even due to Homo sapiens, it is remaining plant tar, with a fingerprint and signs of having been worked with a tool flint found in Königsaue, Germany. Although it is always difficult to be absolutely sure of the exact date and authorship of such things, archaeologists think that the bit of tar is about 80,000 years old and was used by a Neanderthal tribe to help join tool heads or weapons to their mangoes. Details aside, it is evident that the most primitive technology produces some kind of glue almost inevitably.

Tar of vegetable origin has, in fact, been one of the two fundamental types of glue used by humans for millennia. Basically it is a refinement of the simple fact of taking resin. Wood which can be pine or other birch bark, depending on the area to 400-700° C in the absence of oxygen to burn not heated, and the result is doubly advantageous as firstly, coal is obtained of plant, which has a much higher calorific value of wood. On the other hand, wood tar, which is much stronger than the resin and maintains adhesion harder and longer.

But there are many other low-tech solutions to obtain similar substances, especially if the glue power does not matter too much or the glue lasts for many years, simply honey or beeswax, egg white, flour with water, sugar with water, latex and there are so many possible methods that it is absurd to consider, even if it does not have an advanced technology, that has not used more than one different glue.

Besides tar of vegetable origin, the other king of natural glue is animal glue, generally obtained by cooking remains of the animals of rich in connective tissue. I am convinced, although I have not been able to find data of its earliest uses beyond the Egyptians, that the animal tail also has its origin in prehistory, it is even easier to obtain than the tar if one simply disposes of a dead animal in a pot of water.

So common was use of glue since ancient times that the name we give today to collagen comes from kolla Greek i.e. tail, since the Greeks produced animal glue like all contemporary cultures in cold blood. Collagen is something like glue generator such was its importance in this regard throughout our history. When you cook something that has collagen, and there it is in the skin, bones and tendons, it is broken by hydrolysis and forms a gelatine that serves quite well as glue, although it has its limitations, just like vegetable tar, it is not as resistant as modern chemical glues, and cannot withstand high temperatures.

However, as I always speak of something I do not know, corrections and extensions are welcome and I believe that the tail of animal origin is still used in certain more or less crafts that require their specific properties, as in the construction of musical instruments category, since chemical glues to prevent the wood opened without damaging, and animal glue can be peeled off and then reattached a piece with another smoothly. Sometimes, not being a very strong glue, it is better than being one.

Moreover, the structure at the molecular level of animal glue cured is to be neater than synthetic glue to better transmit sound between the instrument parts. We basically used vegetable or animal material cooked to produce sticky substances, which worked quite well but it did not stick too hard or last too long. To get beyond a scientific chemistry was needed, something that took us quite developed, especially advanced organic chemistry, for certain reasons. The glues in past lack chemical and we had to wait until the twentieth century to obtain the stronger glues like super glue.

In 1912, the German chemist Fritz Klatte provided the first of them. Klatte found that, by reacting ethene with acetic acid of vinegar, water and another compound, vinyl acetate was obtained, and this compound could bind itself, forming very long strings with vinyl acetate links. Thus, it obtained a gummy, flexible and highly odorous polymer and it was superseded by the super glue in 1942 by Dr. Harry Coover. For more information about super glue, you can visit The Review Gurus.

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