Wrapping gifts and putting up posters and decorations would be pretty hard without these simple inventions.
A Sticky Situation. The first sticky tape was invented in 1925 by Richard Drew, an engineer at the company 3M. Drew had noticed that the fashion for painting cars in two colours was causing problems for the spray-painters.
So he came up with an adhesive tape that could mask part of the car, then be removed, making a very neat join between the two different colours. In 1930 Drew came up with the first transparent sticky tape, known as Scotch tape in the USA. In the UK the Sellotape Company began producing sticky tape in 1937.
How Tacky. Generations of teenagers have stuck posters to their bedroom walls thanks to a 1971 invention, Blu-tack. Unlike sticky tape, it won’t tear off the wallpaper and you can reuse it. It was discovered by accident during the development of a heavy-duty glue by the US adhesive company Bostick.
You know the obvious uses for sticky tape and Blu-tack, but have you ever thought about using these clever materials to make pieces of art? Some celebrated artworks are made of stranger materials than these. For example, the artist Chris Ofili won the £20,000 Turner Prize in 1998 for his artwork made partly of elephant dung!
Art critics can get carried away with their insights into the art they review. Take the opportunity to say something profound about your ‘work of art’ here.
Glue. Thousands of years ago the first adhesives were made from tree resin. Glue made from animal skins dates back to Egyptian times. In the 1700s the first ever glue factory opened in Holland. The glue was still being made from animal skins.
In the 1750s glue made from fish was invented – which must have been rather smelly. From the beginning of the 20th century adhesives began to be made from plastics.
The latest sticky invention is a glue that bonds surfaces together even though it’s only one nanometer thick (one thousandth of a millionth of a meter). It bonds at high temperatures and could be used for gluing microscopic components and computer chips.