A Düsseldorf invention conquers the world
The Pritt glue stick – a genuine success story
Prior to the invention of the Pritt glue stick, the only glues on the market were liquid in form. “The trick was getting the glue to stiffen,” remembers a current Henkel product developer, Nils Hellwig. “This was eventually achieved through a combination of a soap gel and a water-soluble adhesive. The soap has the effect of making the substance solid while masking its adhesiveness. However, once the stick is rubbed on paper, say, the adhesive components of the water-soluble glue compound are released to work their sticky magic. The material becomes soft enough to create an adhesive film on the substrate.” The adhesive prowess of the product was even confirmed in space by the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachev in 2001, resulting in the Pritt glue stick being awarded the mark of “Space Proof Quality.”
The product range has been steadily extended since with the advent of Pritt All Purpose Glue (1972), Pritt correction and adhesive rollers (1989), the ECOmfort correction roller (2011) with its casing made from 89 percent plant-based plastics, and Pritt Kids’ Craft Sets (2015). Equally important, the Pritt glue stick formulation has undergone continuous further development since it first came onto the scene. The focus here is on sustainability – and thus product safety and environmental compatibility. Consequently, the entire range of Pritt adhesives has long been free from solvents. Around 90 percent of the adhesive substance contained in the glue stick is made from natural raw materials. “In 1991, Henkel started the process of switching from petroleum-based PVP glue sticks to plant-based solutions. And Pritt has been fully committed to this environmentally compatible alternative since the
year 2000, with PVP having been completely removed and replaced by natural starch compounds. Moreover, since 2012 we have been using a home-grown industrial potato in order to avoid unnecessary transportation,” Hellwig explains.
Each year sees global sales of 100 million units of this Düsseldorf invention with its striking red casing, twist-action stick extension and screw top. And each year in Düsseldorf alone, Henkel manufactures more than 90 million Pritt glue sticks for sale in 30-plus countries.