Glue, Carborundum, Remote controls and Pigeons

I’ve been investigating inventors, and inventions, as per my experiment.

Here’s some of the highlights from this week:


Did you know that glue has been around almost forever? A real need from prehistoric times, glue was made from all sorts of natural substances to glue bowls together, or for carpentry.

But superglue – that was something else entirely.

superglue inventing

The dude who invented it, Harry Coover, came across it by accident when he was trying to create optically clear plastic for gunsights. The material was just too sticky for gunsights, but no less than nine years later, when he was researching a heat-resistant acrylate polymer for jet canopies, his coworker spread a film of this ethyl cyanoacrylate between refractometer prisms and discovered that the prisms were glued together.

Only then did Coover realize that cyanoacrylate was a useful product, and in 1958 – 16 years later – they marketed and produced it as superglue.

Cool, huh?

Nikola Tesla

I learned about Nikola Tesla because I was researching the remote control.

cat holding remote control

When I told my roommate about him, he directed me to this Drunken History YouTube clip, which really doesn’t do him justice, but it is pretty hilarious.

tesla was in love with a pigeon

His love affair with a pigeon was quite… interesting, but who am I to judge?

Tesla was not a fan of Edison, but believed that women would become the dominant sex in the future, so he was my favorite inventor for a while there 😉


Edison may not have been so popular, but he was pretty useful – apparently he prodded Edward Goodrich Acheson to build an electricity plant and begin to experiment with Edwards invention of carborundum which turned out to be one of the 22 patents most responsible for the industrial age:

Without carborundum, the mass production manufacturing of precision-ground, interchangeable metal parts would be practically impossible.”

Sometimes I question whether this industrial age was such a good thing, but hey – it’s the reason I’m here typing on my laptop instead of picking berries in the forest somewhere… Hmmmm….

More inventions and famous inventors next week.

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