General Article

The need for glue in our lives.

Let’s face facts, we’ve all broken something. Usually it’s a plate or a glass or something metal based. Rather than buy a new one we’ve gone to the option of getting out some glue and tried to fix it. Unless the product is metal, and you need some special metal bonding adhesive like what you will find at for that job. Have you ever wondered as you try and avoid getting high on the fumes, where glue actually comes from and how we as humans developed it? Let’s take a look at the fascinating sticky stuff.

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The problem of getting something to stick to another thing is an age-old problem for the human race dating back to our prehistoric ancestors’ days. They made do with leather strapping and dried mud, but this is only a temporary solution and it became clear to our ancestors that they needed a more permanent fix. It was the Egyptians who made the first breakthrough with the discovery that if you boil down animals’ bones and their skin and hides you get a gelatinous mix of goo that when it sets, sets like rock. This was a revelation for the Egyptians and they soon set out using it to the best for there abilities by using it to make, um, furniture. Yes, that’s right they soon set about binding dried willow reed and wicker and then sticking it together for chairs tables and also away from the furniture side of things, boats. It never seems to have occurred to them to use it to put the pyramids together but then as they are also supposed to have used the steam engine as a toy its not really a surprise.

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This method of sticking things together to make furniture was extremely popular and even lasted right up until the nineteen hundred but you still see its practice today although the glue itself has changed and been strengthened. There is less of emphasis on boiling animals now as we have discovered better synthetic options to cow and horse marrow. The first attempts to use a substitute was with milk. As the second world war started it was unwise to keep destroying a good source of calcium such as cows provide especially when food is scarce, and horses are being used for important farm work such as ploughing.

After the second world war the development of plastics and increased knowledge of chemicals helped to increase the ability of glue to bond with the introduction of the polymers. Thank goodness they did.