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WD-40 was invented in 1953.


Redstone nuclear rocket, low angle view
Rob Atkins/ Photographers choice/ Getty Images
According to the company that makes WD-40: WD-40 literally stands for water displacement 40th attempt. That's the name straight out of the lab book used by the chemist who helped develop WD-40 back in 1953. Norm Larsen, was attempting to concoct a formula to prevent corrosion, a task which is done by displacing water. Norm's persistence paid off when he perfected the formula for WD-40 on his 40th try.

Rocket Chemical Company

WD-40 was invented by the three founders of the Rocket Chemical Company of San Diego, California. The team of inventors were working on a line of industrial rust-prevention solvents and degreasers for use in the aerospace industry.

WD-40 was first used to protect the outer skin of the Atlas Missile from rust and corrosion. Norm Larsen repackaged WD-40 into aerosol cans for consumer use and the product was sold to the general public in 1958. In 1969, the Rocket Chemical Company was renamed after its only product WD-40.

Interesting Uses for WD-40

Two of the craziet purposes for WD-40 include a bus driver in Asia who used WD-40 to remove a python snake which had coiled itself around the undercarriage of his bus, and police officers who used WD-40 to remove a naked burglar trapped in an air conditioning vent.

Continue > History of Soaps and Detergents

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