History of Glue

Iris | 07 - 19 - 2022

The invention of glue has made lives easier, no doubt. Usage of glue as an adhesive is one of the methods that has been used from prehistoric times, over other methods like sewing and welding.


What material was the first glue made of?

Neanderthals used which type of glue?
  • A. Birch-bark tar
  • B. Rubber glue
  • C. Fish based glue
  • D. Egg-based glue

Glue, which falls under the category of adhesive, binds two different surfaces together. From archaeological excavations, stone tools with traces of glue made from birch bark tar used by Neanderthals were discovered. The invention of glue could be traced back to even before human beings started to evolve.

What is the origin of glue?

When the preserved body of Otzi, the Iceman, supposedly 5,200 years old, was discovered along with his belongings like arrows and hatchets, they had traces of organic glue. This could be considered the origin and the earliest use of glue by our human ancestors.

The glue used by the ancient Greeks and Romans was made out of grain, milk, cheese, beeswax, tar, egg whites, bone, and blood, which was used for carpentry, repairing pottery, and other purposes.


Glue was made out of several substances, which evolved from time to time.

  • Tar-based glue is made from tree bark, used to make decorative objects and also to haft tools.
  • Animal glue, which was made by rendering animal tissues and was used in furniture making and to preserve paintings and frames, originated in China and was widely used in several parts of Asia.
  • Egg-based glue is known for its strong adhesive properties, with the egg white being albumin, becoming waterproof once it dries down.
  • Fish glue was made from the skin and bones of fish and was used in ancient Egypt for repairing and manufacturing shoes, furniture, and for the purpose of preservation.
  • Rubber-based glue was discovered in 1830 and was used widely in the manufacturing of shoes, ceramic objects, and carpentry.
  • Synthetic glue is manufactured from synthetic resins and rubber. This type of glue is manufactured without incorporating any animal products.
  • The widely used Super Glue was an accidental discovery by Dr. Harry Coover in 1942 while working with chemicals in WWII.

Hope this blog helps you in gaining some knowledge about glue. Please check out our quiz below to test your understanding.

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