Object as history



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.

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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.

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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



































Object as history


For week 4 each of us had to work on our research on a particular object and then write instagram and twitter posts on the object. The instagram post had to have 50 words and 20 hashtags and the twitter post had to have 240 characters.


Instagram post

The mold cape is a solid sheet-gold object from about 1900-1600 BC in the European Bronze age. It is the most spectacular examples of prehistoric sheet-gold working yet discovered. The cape is known for its detailed and beautiful decorative motifs. There is a theory that the cape is an ornament for a horse.

#moldcape #historicobject #solidsheetgold #spectacularwork #gold #goldencloak #goldornament #detaileddecorations #ceromonialdress  #1900-1600BC #Europeanbronzeage #discovered1833 #458mm #beautifuldesign #craftsmenship #exceptional #thebronzeage #mold #Wales #Britishmuseum #London


Twitter post

The Mold cape is a solid sheet-GOLD object dating from about 1900–1600 BC in the European Bronze age. It was found at Mold in Flinshire, wales, in 1833. The cape is thought to have formed part of a ceremonial dress. The gold cape was found in 1833 by workmen. The cape was within a Bronze Age burial mound in a field named Bryn yr Ellyllon, the Fairies’ or Goblins’ Hill. The gold cape had been placed on the body of a person who was interred in a rough cist(stone-lined grave) within a burial mound. The cape is considered to be one of the most spectacular examples of prehistoric sheet-gold working yet discovered. It is of particular interest as both its form and its design are unparalleled. The value of the metal and the quality of the craftsmanship suggests that the cape was produced by a wealthy culture.  An urn with large quantities of burnt bone and ash was 0.6–0.9 m from the grave. The cape’s breadth is 458 mm, just over 18 inches. Around the neck and base are a line of perforations. There are three zones of decoration on the cape: a band running around the base, a curving panel which dips at the neck and rises over the shoulders, and two matching panels to fill in the upper arm area. detailed study and restoration revealed the full form of the cape, which at one time had been misinterpreted as a peytrel (chest ornament) for a horse.

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Object as history


For this session, each of us had to pick an object and do a detailed online research on that object and write our research in 500 words. I chose the Mold Cape as my object.




The Mold Cape was found by workmen at Mold in Flintshire, Wales, in 1833. It is a solid sheet of decorative gold dating about 1900- 1600 BC in the European Bronze Age. When found, the cape was badly crushed. The cape was found within a Bronze Age burial mound in a field named Bryn yr Ellyon, it was placed in a rough cist within a burial mound. It is currently kept in the Great Court of the British Museum.

It was designed to fit someone of slight build and the gender of the person remains unclear. The cape is one of the most spectacular prehistoric sheet- gold working. The cape is oval shaped and it would cover the shoulders, upper arms and the upper chest of the person wearing it.


The object was beaten out of the ingot of gold, a task that requires a lot of time and skill. The decoration almost fills the object’s outer surface, so very little “plain” gold remains. On the neck and base there are a line of perforations. There are three zones of decoration on the cape: a band running around the base, a curving panel with dips at the neck and rises over the shoulders and two matching panels that fill in the upper arm area. The front and back of the rails have the same patterns and decorations.

The two triangular areas on the upper arm are bounded at the front by a ridge, row of lentoid bosses and a ridge. At the front and back it is then bounded by three rows of small domed bosses. Inside this is a ridge, a row of conical bosses, and two ridges with a groove.

The Mold cape shows both indigenous and Continental influences. Similar treatment of decorative motifs may be found in other pieces of Bronze Age metalwork, such as a bowl found at Rongères in eastern France (which itself draws from Central European sources), and also with the lenticular bosses found on the Migdale (Sutherland, Scotland) bronze “spacer-plate” (a device to hold apart the separate strands of a necklace) and the bronze armlets found at Melfort in Argyll, Scotland. This distinctive boss motif, surrounded by fine dots outlining the lenticular shape, has a long duration in Scotland and obviously survived in the indigenous repertoire to re-appear on this unusual cape.






Object as history


A completely new subject, we were all very excited to find out what the course has to offer. I think each of us had our own understanding of the subject when we read our timetable. I thought we were going to study the evolution of objects in history and how an object can talk a lot about the time period it comes from with the way its been made, the finesse, the tools used and so on.The way I see it, an object is proof of history; as the world evolves, objects evolve with it.

The first class was a interactive session, the main idea was to understand what the course was all about. We started the class with, “what is an object?” and everyone spoke about their understanding of an object. It was interesting to see how everyone had their own understanding of an object and how contrasting the answers were. The discussion moved on to how one can connect the look of an object to a particular period in history and understand what the object is made of, by simply looking at the texture, colour, feel and so on.

Later we spoke about how we blindly believe certain facts in history but in reality a lot of it is over exaggerated. At historical monuments; tour guides have their own tales about the history of the place, tales that attract crowds and interests them in knowing more about the place.

We saw a short video that depicted our life process and how we’ve evolved over years. Overall the first class gave us a better understanding of the course and got us pumped up and excited for following weeks.