On the other side of the world, American Indians in eastern North America seamed birchbark canoes with a waterproof mixture of spruce gum and fat. The Yakutat Tlingit tribe of the Pacific Northwest combined burnt clamshells, salmon eggs, fish skins, seal brains and blood to make a waterproof (and no doubt odiferous) caulk.
Farther south, the Aztecs were using blood as an adhesive in construction as late as the 14th century.
In the first centuries AD, Greeks and Romans mastered the art of bonding thin layers of wood into veneers as well as the decorative art of marquetry. They used egg whites to make gold leaf stick and concocted glues from hide, milk, blood, bones, cheese, vegetables and grains. Romans caulked their ships with tar and beeswax.
1848 Henry Day invents adhesive tape
1882 German pharmacist makes the first adhesive bandage
1910 Phenol formaldehyde is invented
1925 Richard Drew invents masking tape
1930 … and cellophane tape
1935 R. Stanton Avery makes self-adhesive labels
1940 Procter & Gamble packaging engineer invents “hot glue”
1942 Johnson & Johnson sells duct tape
1958 Super Glue debuts
1966 Surgical glue tested in Vietnam
From the November 2010 issue of Family Tree Magazine.
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