THE HISTORY OF ADHESIVES
The dictionary defines an adhesive as a substance capable of holding materials together by surface attachment. This is a simple definition for a material that is the basis of a multi-billion dollar industry with more than 750 companies competing for a share of the market. It is estimated that 50 of those companies are responsible for 50 percent of the sales dollars in the adhesive industry.
I’m going to be looking at fevicol, a product of pidilit and India’s most used and trusted brand of adhesives. Pidilite’s biggest bond is through the Fevicol family of products. Pidilite is a consumer centric company committed to quality and innovation. For decades, we have been pioneering products for small to large applications, at home and industry, which have forged strong bonds with people from all walks of life. From adhesives, sealants, waterproofing solutions and construction chemicals to arts & crafts, industrial resins, polymers and more. Fevicol has become a household name that is today synonymous with adhesives. The brand has introduced many innovative products which have transformed the way carpentry trade operates in India.
The company laid its foundations with innovation in the form of Fevicol – path-breaking synthetic white resin adhesive. It meant freedom from cumbersome animal fat glue for binding woodworks. To this day, Fevicol remains the first choice of carpenters. Fevicol was an industrial product, we re-launched it in an innovative ‘tube-pack’ to reach end consumers. Today Fevicol is integral to every household in India. Ther are three different types of fevicol- fevicol SH (the standard fevicol), fevicol marine and fevicol Hi Per. Pidilite Industries received the ‘Most Promising Company of the Year Award’ at the CNBC-TV18, 11th Indian Business Leader Awards (IBLA). The award is a tribute and testimony to the diligence of Pidilitians all over. Just over 4 decades after its launch, Pidilite declared a turnover of Rs.1000 crores. The company had grown 1000 times in just 45 years. The famous Fevicol ‘Bus ad’ not only won the hearts of the Indian people but also the world, going ahead to win the Silver Lion award at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2002. They launched launched Dr. Fixit, an extensive range of Construction Chemicals, thus diversifying its product range. Dr. Fixit was specially developed as a waterproofing solution to be used in new constructions, or in the repair of old ones. Barely four years after starting the company, the first modern manufacturing plant was established in Kondivita Village, Mumbai. Today, this building houses the Corporate Head Office.
The 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s witnessed great advances in the development and production of new plastics and resins due to the First and Second World Wars. These advances greatly improved the development of adhesives by allowing the use of newly developed materials that exhibited a variety of properties. With changing needs and ever evolving technology, the development of new synthetic adhesives continues to the present. However, due to their low cost, natural adhesives are still more commonly used.
Natural rubber was first used as material for adhesives starting in 1830. In 1839, Charles Goodyear discovered that a rubber and sulfur mixture, when heated, becomes elastic. In 1843, Thomas Hancock named this process vulcanization. In 1862, a British patent (number 3288) was issued for the plating of metal with brass by electrodeposition to obtain a stronger bond to rubber. The development of the automobile and the need for rubber shock mounts required stronger and more durable bonds of rubber and metal. This spurred the development of cyclized rubber treated in strong acids. By 1927, this process was used to produce solvent-based thermoplastic rubber cements for metal to rubber bonding.
Natural rubber-based sticky adhesives were first used on a backing by Henry Day (US Patent 3,965) in 1845. Later these kinds of adhesives were used in cloth backed surgical and electric tapes. By 1925, the pressure-sensitive tape industry was born. Today, sticky notes, Scotch tape, and other tapes are examples of PSA (pressure-sensitive adhesives).
In 1750, the first British glue patent was issued for fish glue. The following decades of the next century witnessed the manufacture of casein glues in German and Swiss factories. In 1876, the first US patent (number 183,024) was issued to the Ross brothers for the production of casein glue. The first US postage stamps used starch-based adhesives when issued in 1840. The first US patent (number 61,991) on dextrin (a starch derivative) adhesive was issued in 1867
In Central Asia, the rise of the Mongols in approximately AD 1000 can be partially attributed to the good range and power of the bows of Genghis Khan’s hordes. These bows were constructed with laminated lemonwood and bullhorn bonded by an unknown adhesive. In Europe, glue fell into disuse until the period AD 1500–1700. At this time, world-renowned cabinet and furniture makers such as Thomas Chippendale and Duncan Phyfe began to use adhesives to hold their products together. The development of modern adhesives began in 1690 with the founding of the first commercial glue plant in Holland. This plant produced glues from animal hides.
From AD 1 to 500 the Greeks and Romans made great contributions to the development of adhesives. Wood veneering and marquetry were developed, the production of animal and fish glues refined, and other materials utilized. Egg-based pastes were used to bond gold leaves incorporated various natural ingredients such as blood, bone, hide, milk, cheese, vegetables, and grains. The Greeks began the use of slaked lime as mortar while the Romans furthered mortar development by mixing lime with volcanic ash and sand. This material, known as pozzolanic cement, was used in the construction of the Roman Colosseum and Pantheon. The Romans were also the first people known to have used tar and beeswax as caulk and sealant between the wooden planks of their boats and ships. The first references to adhesives in literature first appeared in approximately 2000 BC. Further historical records of adhesive use are found from the period spanning 1500–1000 BC. Artifacts from this period include paintings depicting wood gluing operations and a casket made of wood and glue in King Tutankhamun’stomb. Other ancient Egyptian artifacts employ animal glue for bonding or lamination. Such lamination of wood for bows and furniture is thought to have extended their life and was accomplished using casein (milk protein)-based glues. The ancient Egyptians also developed starch-based pastes for the bonding of papyrus to clothing and a plaster of Paris-like material made of calcined gypsum.
In 2000, a paper revealed the discovery of a 5,200-year-old man nicknamed the “Tyrolean Iceman” or “Ötzi”, who was preserved in a glacier near the Austria-Italy border. Several of his belongings were found with him including two arrows with flint arrowheads and a copper hatchet, each with evidence of organic glue used to connect the stone or metal parts to the wooden shafts. The glue was analyzed as pitch, which requires the heating of tar during its production. The retrieval of this tar requires a transformation of birch bark by means of heat, in a process known as pyrolysis.
The first evidence of a substance being used as an adhesive dates back to 4000 B.C. Archaeologists studying burial sites of prehistoric tribes found foodstuffs buried with the deceased in broken pottery vessels that had been repaired with sticky resins from tree sap. Archaeologists have also uncovered statues from Babylonian temples that have ivory eyeballs glued into eyesockets. This tar-like glue has held for almost 6,000 years. The period of time between 1500-1000 B.C. gave further proof that glue had become a method of assembly. Paintings and murals showed details of wood gluing operations. A casket removed from the tomb of King Tut shows the use of glue in its construction. Our museums today contain many art objects and furnishings from the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs that are bonded or laminated with some type of animal glue. The first references in literature concerning glue and the art of glue appear about the year 200 B.C. Simple procedures for making and using animal glue were written. The next period of activity is from 1-500 A.D. when the Romans and Greeks developed the art of veneering and marquetry, which is the bonding of thin sections or layers of wood. From this art, the making of animal and fish glues were refined and other types of adhesives were developed, such as an adhesive from egg whites to bond golf leaf. In addition to egg whites, other natural ingredients were used to prepare glue, such as blood, bones, hide, milk, cheese, vegetables, and grains.
70,000 BC- The cavemen in South Africa back then used a gluey substance made of tree-sap and red ochre to protect their cave paintings
2,000 BC- The Egyptians first introduced the use of liquid adhesives in their wooden artifacts
1700- The first ever industry opened and started producing liquid adhesives commercially in Holland. It was called Horse glue.
1932- Casco all- glue was introduced in the market which was the first multipurpose PVA- based glue
1999- The formula now of Elmers glue doesn’t use any animal product. The product is made of PVA-based synthetic glue