Harry Coover, Jr, the inventor of Super Glue passed away on March 26,2011 at the age of 94 years old. Coover had 460 patents and introduced over 320 new products for Kodak.

If you have hobbies of your own that require you to build, assemble or attach things to each other you’ve probably used superglue in many projects and probably adhered your fingers to random objects or to yourself at one point or another.

Super Glue, also known as cyanoacrylate was invented by Harry Coover, Jr while he was working as a chemist for Kodak. Later in his life he was the vice-president of Eastman Kodak until 1984.

While I’ve had many great experiences with Super Glue, I’ve also had some bad ones aside from the normal runny nose, scratchy eyes ( Caused by the polymerization of the fumes by the moisture in the  membranes of your eyes nose and throat) and hours of gnawing glue off my fingertips.

My worst experience was working on a model airplane when I was younger. I was using CA accelerator which accelerates the curing of cyanoacrylate and had spilled some on my hand by accident, I then went to glue a component with some water thin CA and accidentally spilled it on my hand as well.  As the glue rapidly cured it sizzled on my palm leaving quite a burn that I won’t soon forget.

Like many cool and useful inventions it was discovered by accident while Coover was working on a different project related to plastics.

These days super glues come in many different varieties. There are water thin version which will soak right into soft woods, such as balsa, like a sponge and then cure, creating a bond which is often stronger than the wood itself. It also comes in thicker formulas which are great for a variety of applications.

Coover also discovered that cyanoacrylates were an excellent adhesive for not just inanimate objects, but also for human skin and other tissues. Anyone who’s had the frustration of accidentally gluing their fingers together or to another would probably think that this would be a quick realization. Cyanoacrylates are  used for temporary wound patches and suture-less wound closures which is certain to have save lives on battlefields and in trauma situations.

So the next time you’re gluing something together with a super glue you know who’s responsible for creating them and that he lived long and well respected life.

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