The Manual - The truth about WD-40

It's not rocket science

Actually, it is. WD-40 was invented in 1953 by Norm Larsen, founder of the Rocket Chemical Company, to stop condensation and corrosion occuring in the umbilical cord of the Atlas space rocket. There were 39 formulas before Water Displacement Formula 40 hit paydirt and won the tender. But it wasn't until 1969 that the company changed its name to WD-40, after its miracle product. And it's still used in space now.

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What's in it?

It's a secret formula (never patented, so it couldn't be copied) and is only mixed in two sites in the US, one in Australia and one in Milton Keynes, the HQ of the European operation. And that distinctive WD-40 fragrance we all know and love is completely manufactured, then added. WD-40's breakthrough came with the aerosol version in the Sixties when. With 140 million cans sold each year, WD-40 is now in more households worldwide than Coca-Cola - and the product has a fan club of more than 120,000 members.

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More uses than you can shake a can at!

Indeed. In 2000, WD-40 customers compiled a list of 2,000 top uses for the spray (see www.wd40.co.uk). Here are some, er, novel examples you might not be aware of: cleans and renews scuffed CDs; removes grape juice stains and crayon from carpet; frees stuck Lego blocks; helps break in cricket gloves; keeps missile silo doors swinging freely. You can even spray it over stagnant water to keep mosquito eggs from hatching.