Super Glue Inventor Harry W. Coover Dies at 94

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In the world of adhesives, agglutinants, and things that make things stick to other things, one man’s name stood viscously with a product that led to a revolution in permanently pressing industrial materials together, fixing broken knick-knacks, and saving fifth grade science projects for kids everywhere.

That man’s name was Dr. Harry Coover, inventor of Super Glue. The Super Glue Corporation’s blog announced Dr. Coover passed away on Saturday at his Kingsport, Tenn., home of congestive heart failure. He was 94.

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Not to be confused with Krazy Glue, a chemically different adhesive which was introduced in 1973, Super Glue was first discovered in 1942 by Coover who was trying to make materials for plastic gun sights for soldiers, but he rejected it because the material, cyanoacrylates, basically stuck to everything! In 1951, while working for Eastman Kodak, Coover and another scientist, Fred Joyner rediscovered the material, which they called Eastman 910 and saw its commercial benefit.

Soon he tested out his product on the television game show “I’ve Got a Secret,” hosted by Garry Moore. He demonstrated it by gluing two metal bars together, then holding on to one as it lifted him in the air.

Today the product and its offshoots including Bondini, Pacer Industrial, and Pro Seal are used widely both commercially and industrially.

Although Coover never actually financially capitalized on Super Glue — he worked for the Eastman Kodak company until he retired — he held more than 460 patents, The New York Times reported. In 2004 he was inducted to the National Inventors Hall of Fame and was honored by President Obama for his discovery last November with a National Medal of Science.

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