In 1953, a fledgling company called Rocket Chemical Company and its staff of three set out to create a line of rust-prevention solvents and degreasers for use in the aerospace industry, in a small lab in San Diego, California.
It took them 40 attempts to get the water displacing formula worked out. But they must have been really good, because the original secret formula for WD-40®-which stands for Water Displacement perfected on the 40th try-is still in use today.
Convair, an aerospace contractor, first used WD-40 to protect the outer skin of the Atlas Missile from rust and corrosion. The product actually worked so well that several employees snuck some WD-40 cans out of the plant to use at home.
A few years following WD-40's first industrial use, Rocket Chemical Company founder Norm Larsen experimented with putting WD-40 into aerosol cans, reasoning that consumers might find a use for the product at home as some of the employees had. The product made its first appearance on store shelves in San Diego in 1958.
The most interesting piece of WD-40's history is the uses for the product, now numbering in the thousands. Over the years, thousands of WD-40 users have written testimonial letters to the company sharing their often unique, if sometimes just plain weird, uses for the product-many of which are shared in other parts of this Web site.
The uses include everything from silencing squeaky hinges and removing road tar from automobiles to protecting tools from rust and removing adhesive labels. But they get a lot crazier than that. Some of the more interesting stories include the bus driver in Asia who used WD-40 to remove a python snake, which had coiled itself around the undercarriage of his bus, or when police officers used WD-40 to remove a naked burglar trapped in an air conditioning vent.
In 2006, WD-40 Company introduced the WD-40 No-Mess PenT to provide millions of WD-40 users a portable, precision-application delivery system of the famous multi-purpose problem solver. The WD-40 Fan Club also reached an astonishing 100,000 members & a tribute to WD-40's fanatical fan base around the globe.
In 2008, WD-40 Company listened to its consumers and converted its most popular-size WD-40 cans to WD-40 Smart Straw® cans. The official list of 2000+ Uses for WD-40 also grew for the first time, thanks to the help of WD-40 Fan Club members.
In 2009, WD-40 Company introduced WD-40 Trigger ProT- a non-aerosol product with the same WD-40 formula - to better meet the needs of its industrial consumers.
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