Wednesday, October 21, 1998 Published at 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Sticky moments in 21 years of Superglue
A tortoise with a cracked shell avoids a sticky end.
Twenty-one years after Superglue made its public debut, its makers claim it is practically holding the fabric of society together.
But its remarkable stickiness has also been responsible for a sometimes amusing, sometimes horrifying, catalogue of mishaps.
The glue is made of cyanocrylate which was first devised in 1942 in a search to make clear plastic gunsights in World War Two.
Professor Kreible's glue, which was first known as "liquid locknut" and then Loctite, was put to more practical use on the age-old problem of loose nuts and bolts in machinery. He was soon crowned "the man who beat vibration".
The product's first big break came when the Caterpillar company secured the nuts on its tractors with it.
McLaren's Formula One racing team is stuck on it. Superglue was used to lock threads, retain bearings, bond components and seal flanges in this year's car - 65 applications in all.
It was also used in the preparation of the Space Shuttle and on Thrust II, the world land speed-record breaking car.
Superglue in Surgery
Superglue has also proved to be a life-saver. During the Vietnam War soldiers were issued with tubes to seal stomach wounds in the battlefield.
A redefined formulation is now used to seal post-operative wounds worldwide.
It has also been used in veterinary care. A tortoise who cracked its shell after falling from a second floor window was successfully glued back together.
Racing pigeons have had their feathers superglued, fish have had their fins re-attached and horses have had their split hooves bonded together.