So many things that existed in primitive times have made an exit from this world but adhesives have remained. It has been able to keep in tune with the march of times and has remained with humans in all walks of our lives. For thousands of year variety of glues have been used to stick one object with another. Dating back 4000 B.C. our forefathers knew about adhesives and used it. We have inherited the legacy and still find this sticky material as useful as our predecessors had found it. It is really surprising how much we rely on this particular thing in our daily lives not to talk about its multifarious industrial and other applications. Rarely, you will find another substance that had its existence thousands of years ago and has evolved into a multi -million dollar industry today.
Adhesives have been part of human civilizations and have withstood the test of times that has made it possible to survive in some form or other. If it started with tree sap and moved over to bees wax and then animal glue, there are many new items that have enriched its properties and have made it an indispensable part of our lives. The versatility of glues has enabled it to move over from using in the domestic arena to find place in a wide variety of industrial applications.
Thanks to archaeology that has established our roots and have linked us to it. Had it not been for it, it would be almost impossible to trace the origins of adhesives that had been a part of man’s daily life. Clay vessels and pottery that were used around 4000 years before Christ have been unearthed by archaeologists that bear ample evidence that these were repaired using adhesives possibly made from tree sap. Its use continued for a few thousand years more as paintings and murals of the period between 1500 to 1000 B.C. capture gluing operations. Excavations from tombs of Egypt indicate that burial items and caskets were bonded by using some kind of adhesives, which could possibly be animal glue.
Improvement in Quality
The need for more bonding power of adhesives was perceived by the Romans and Greeks as they wanted to use it for bonding wood in thin layers. During this period from 1to 500 A.D. glue was mixed with additives like grains, milk, cheese, animal hides and egg whites to increase its durability and bond strength. This was the time when beeswax was used by the Romans as a sealant for ships and boats. It was during 1500 that use of glue in furniture making increased its usefulness.
The Industrial Revolution of 1920s witnessed further progress in the evolution of adhesives as new formulations were discovered and its scope of use kept enlarging. Synthetic adhesive spread rapidly after the Second World War and new properties like toughness, flexibility, cure time, temperature resistance etc were imparted to it.