A short history of glues and adhesives

Glues and adhesives are used in every walk of life, both in industry and in the home. They are used for everything from piecing together large items of furniture and buildings to sticking on false eyelashes and nails. The history of glue dates back to our prehistoric ancestors, who used animal-based products as a means to create the tools they needed to live.

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At a push, according to Very Well Health, you can even use super glue to close cuts and wounds if you have nothing else to hand; in fact, the NHS uses a medical grade form of super glue on a regular basis.

The origins of adhesive
The earliest adhesives, which are believed to date back more than 4,000 years, were plant- or animal-based and remained this way for a very long time. Even when adhesives as we know them today were first produced, they were not available for the masses. Only skilled tradesmen – such as carpenters – and the gentry used these more updated forms of adhesive.

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Both animal- and plant-based adhesives were created with the use of heat. Animal hides, their connective tissue and even hooves were boiled for long periods of time to release the sticky stuff that made the first rudimentary glues. Similarly, the bark of birch trees was heated to release the sap, which formed the basis of a simple glue.

Technological advances in adhesives
Advances in adhesive technology continued through time. In the mid-1800s, the adhesive used on tapes, which is sensitive to pressure, was developed. Around the time of the start of the second world war, plastic adhesives were developed – probably to coincide with the growth of the automotive industry.

In some areas, adhesive technology has advanced at a slower pace and bonding metal to metal remains one of the most challenging jobs. You need a specific metal bonding adhesive from a specialist such as http://www.ct1ltd.com/product-applications/metal-to-metal-adhesive/ that has created a product to meet this particular challenge.

Today, there are hundreds of different types of glue available, each for a slightly different task. You can buy glue in a stick, a pot, as dots, premixed, or in two part. Whatever type of glue you buy, its purpose remains the same – to bond the surfaces of two or more parts together.

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