Let me just say upfront that we professionals in the adhesives industry can get a bit testy when someone refers to our high-tech engineered adhesives as glue. We’ve got our pride!
Years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting a customer with a female distributor; back then, there were few women in the technical field of high-class, scientific, engineered adhesives. Upon our arrival, the design engineer picked up his phone and said, “Hey Bob – come down to my office; the epoxy glue girl is here.” Really! He just called her the epoxy glue girl? A team of scientist just spent months creating a specialty-engineered adhesive – and he called it epoxy glue! Excuse me, but that is one specialty-engineered epoxy adhesive – not glue! That’s akin to calling diamonds – shiny rocks!
Of course, I did not share my shock with the customer – and through the course of testing our high-tech scientific cure to what ailed them, I did see a glimmer of respect for the science. As soon as we left, however, I ranted. “I can’t believe he called you the Epoxy Glue Girl!” Obviously, I was concerned about the word Glue. She thought I was a feminist and commenting on them calling her a Girl. Her response was a complete surprise. “Honest, I’m thrilled with the new title. Before they started using epoxy glue – I sold them screws for this application. Back then – they announced, “the screw lady has arrived.” I can’t help but see that the title was an improvement – but I asked her to work on it and see if we can’t progress to Epoxy Adhesive Girl?
Previously, the term “glue” was used exclusively for natural adhesives (boiled horse hooves, etc…), and “adhesive” was used for synthetic products. Today – the words are used commonly for both.
I expect my predisposition to angst over the word glue comes from my children. One had asked what the term “It’s time to send that old nag to the glue factory” meant. Shortly after providing the answer, I began the evening nagging about doing homework, bathing, and packing backpacks for the next day. Instead of complaining, the three were giggling over an inside joke. They finally shared that they thought if I was going to be an old nag, I ought to go back to work – “Ha Ha Ha – cuz you work in a glue factory – get it, Mom?”