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What Is Glue Made Of? The History of Glue.

October 24, 2019

What is Glue made of - The History of Glue

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We humans have been sticking things together for a long time—far longer than a cursory glance at the glue aisle in the hardware store might lead you to believe. 


In fact, there is archeological evidence to suggest that our Pleistocene ancestors made and used glue-like adhesives as early as the Stone age 280,000-25,000 years ago. Stone age sites in Italy and Eastern Africa show that early humans used birch tar and red ochre to make glue. 


Furthermore, artefacts found at both Sibudu Cave and Rose Cottage in South Africa show evidence of the use of “compound adhesives” over 70,000 years ago.  According to archeologists; the term “compound adhesive” describes a means of attaching handles to tools. This marks a remarkable technological advance and a turning point in the history of civilisation. 


According to Dr. Lynn Wadley; doing this required early humans to “mix glue from disparate ingredients, mentally rotate segments, and maintain fire temperature.” No small feat. 


The archeological evidence uncovered at these South African sites shows traces of a plant gum-resin pointing to the conclusion that plant-based adhesives, combined with twine enabled our ancestors to create sophisticated tools. 


Dr. Wadley, suggests in her paper “Implications for Complex Cognition from the Hafting of Tools with Compound Adhesives in the Middle Stone Age, South Africa”; the variety of types of glue found at these sites is indicative of purpose-specific mixtures. So, even  70,000 years ago, we were using different types of glues to serve different functions. 


Like our early ancestors, we’ve tried and tested different formulations to find the best adhesive for every situation. Whether you need an incredibly strong quick fix, or a heavy duty bond; Gorilla products have been specially designed for the toughest jobs on planet earth. From crafts to construction-- we’ve got you covered. 


Glues of today are no doubt a departure from the plant-based adhesives of the past, but one thing’s for sure—this is one technology that’s sticking around.


*Please check individual product packaging for instructions for use.