This is the best example I've seen in a long time of why I read the obituaries. The dead person is John S. Barry, whom I'd never heard of. Now, I'd heard of — and, like everyone else — used WD-40, but I'd never thought about its origin. Did you know it was created for the space program?
Convair, a unit of General Dynamics, first used WD-40 to protect the outer skin of the Atlas missile from rust and corrosion. The product worked so well that employees sneaked WD-40 cans out of the plant to use at home. Norm Larsen, the Rocket Chemical technician who invented WD-40, soon came up with the idea of selling it to the general public.Go read the whole thing, written by Douglas Martin. And keep reading the obituaries.
WD-40 hit store shelves in San Diego in 1958. In 1961, employees came in on a Saturday to produce the first truckload shipment to meet disaster needs of victims of Hurricane Carla on the Gulf Coast. WD-40 was used to recondition flood-damaged vehicles.
Sales continued to increase, but it was the arrival of Mr. Barry as president and chief executive in 1969 that jolted the company to dominance in its unusual niche market. He immediately changed the name of Rocket Chemical to the WD-40 Company, on the indisputable theory that it did not make rockets.
And tell us about your WD-40 stories.