Super Glue, also known as cyanoacrylate, was originally discovered in 1942 by Dr. Harry Coover. Born in Newark, Delaware (USA), on March 6, 1919,
Coover was attempting to make clear plastic gun sights to be put on guns used by Allied soldiers in WWII. One particular formulation he came up with didn’t work well for gun sights, but worked fantastically as an extremely quick bonding adhesive.
Surprisingly, despite the commercial potential of such a product, Coover abandoned that formulation completely as it obviously wasn’t suitable for his current project, being too sticky.
Nine years later, in 1951, now working at Eastman Kodak, Dr. Coover was the supervisor of a project looking at developing a heat resistant acrylate polymer for jet canopies and at one point used the rediscovered Super Glue and tested it by spreading ethyl cyanoacrylate between a pair of refractometer prisms.
To his surprise, the prisms became stuck very solidly together. This time, Coover realized the great potential of a product.
Super Glue was finally put on the market in 1958 by Eastman Kodak and was called the slightly less catchy name of “Eastman #910”, though they later re-named it “Super Glue”. This would quickly bond to a variety of materials and only needed a little water to activate, which generally is provided in the materials to be bonded themselves.