The Editors Mailbox

The Editors Mailbox

Inventor of Super Glue Dies

comments (2) March 29th, 2011 in blogs

sscott Stephen Scott, associate editor
thumbs up 9 users recommend

Woodworkers use Harry Coovers invention - cyanoacrylate glue - in a variety of ways. Among the uses is stabilizing unsound material in spalted stock. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Woodworkers use Harry Coover's invention - cyanoacrylate glue - in a variety of ways. Among the uses is stabilizing unsound material in spalted stock.

The man who invented Super Glue has died.

Harry Coover, 94, was an industrial chemist whose powerful adhesive - also known as cyanoacrylate - made him a friend to many a woodworker who did not know his name. Woodworkers use the glue for fast-setting repairs of joinery mistakes, to fix cracks and splits in workpieces or even to reattach small slivers of broken wood. Cyanoacrylate type glues are also useful for stabilizing weak or "punky" material in spalted wood.

Mr. Coover died Saturday at his home in Kingsport, Tenn. According to his obituary in The New York Times, he discovered the strong adhesive properties of cyanoacrylate during World War II, while working on a high-strength clear plastic for use in gun sights He helped develop the substance as a commercial glue - and for medical use - in the late 1950s and early 60s. He was most proud of its use by battlefield medics in Vietnam as a spray to help stop bleeding.

You can hear Coover tell the story of his invention in this video, which was presented in 2009, when Coover received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama.

posted in: blogs, glue

Comments (2)

Fabuladico Fabuladico writes: Do you suppose they just glued the casket shut?
Posted: 12:07 am on April 16th

KwajKeith KwajKeith writes: I use this glue for myriad uses, but my main use is as a base for my turned woods before I shellac them. It makes the shellac stable and long lasting.
Rest in peace,Harry. Genius can sometimes live long.
Posted: 6:42 pm on April 5th

You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.

Save up to 51% on Fine Woodworking


Become a Better Woodworker

ABOUT THE EDITORS MAILBOX editors report from the woodworking front lines. Check in every weekday for news, information, projects, and answers to questions from Fine Woodworking readers everywhere.

Learn about our new format!

Archive: Temporarily unavailable. Stay tuned and sorry for the inconvenience.