Native Americans used to make glue from hides and hooves of animals. In early America it was common practice for ranchers to send unwanted horses to be processed at glue factories.
In fact, while it originally included milk in the ingredients, the traditional school glue you are used to is now all synthetic. Elmer’s Glue website specifically states that their product is made from 100% synthesized (man-made) ingredients.
The process of extracting collagen from dead animals is time-consuming and much more costly. American horses are, however, sometimes transported to countries like Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered.
The types of glues that are made from animals utilize the collagen found in the horse. It can be extracted from hooves, skin and bones by boiling the body parts.
In fact, this video does a wonderful job of explaining why animals were used for glue in the past and why that practice isn’t as common now. Cows would be most common because of the numbers but some glues are made from rabbit and fish as well.
These days it makes much more sense to make glue out of synthetic compounds. In the old westerns and Bugs Bunny cartoons that pretty much formed my thought processes as a child, they would always threaten to send the old horse to the glue factory.
You get points for acknowledging Cecil as the man, but if you’d done even a little of reading, you’d have come across the horse/ glue factory connection pretty often. When asked how he achieved this, he replied, I whisper in the horse’s ear: Roses are red, violets are blue.
They take fat and bone trimmings from grocery stores, waste scraps from restaurants, and dead animals. Some slaughterhouses will happily accept and process horse meat if it’s commercially feasible.
Staff Lynn Boron, Straight Dope Science Advisory Board STAFF REPORTS ARE WRITTEN BY THE STRAIGHT DOPE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD, CECIL'S ONLINE AUXILIARY.
THOUGH THE SD SAB DOES ITS BEST, THESE COLUMNS ARE EDITED BY ED ZO TTI, NOT CECIL, SO ACCURACYWISE YOU'D BETTER KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED. Collagen is a key protein in connective tissues (cartilage, tendons, ligaments) as well as hides and bones.
It’s also the key ingredient in most animal glues, as it can be made into a gelatin that’s sticky when wet but hardens when it dries. Other adhesives were made from egg whites, tree sap, tar, and beeswax, which the ancient Romans used to caulk the planking in ships.
For fish glue, Theophilus recommended the bladder of the sturgeon, but alternatives included and “the bones of the head of the wolf fish.” The first commercial glue factory, started in Holland in the early 18th century, used animal hides. Animal glue, popular for thousands of years, has fallen out of fashion in recent decades.
Over the second half of the 20th century, synthetic glues have become more advanced, as they are cheap, uniform in quality, and have longer shelf lives. Bookbinders are fond of them because they’re slow to set, allowing binders plenty of time to work.
You’ve probably heard that horses are killed in order to be made into glue. Horses contain high levels of collagen which is a key ingredient in most animal-based glue.
The surfaces can be separated again with clean surfaces You can apply a new layer of glue on top of an old layer You can correct an irregular fit by heating up the glue It produces a tight joint that does not bend over time When you’re working with glue that isn’t made from animals you will typically not have these advantages.
Some factories might kill a perfectly good horse in order to turn it into glue. So you don’t need to worry that your horse will suddenly be caught and turned into glue.
This way the animal is being put to great use after it can no longer live a good life. This wasn’t something people gave a lot of thought back in the days.
We would eat the meat and try to think of other ways to utilize the bones, teeth, homes, etc. Sometimes your fingers will stick together and this sticky substance is partly the collagen that is being used in the animal glue.
Fish glue has been used for more than 10 years and it is used for glass, ceramics, wood, paper leather, and metals. In fact, several factories in Canada are using dead animals to produce sticky substances in the glue.
This type of glue is made from hoofs of horses and cattle. This is especially great for art projects and finer woodwork like cabinetry and furniture.
The horse glue is typically being produced in France and other countries in Europe. So if we wanted to glue together two pieces of material we would have to use the collagen from dead animals.
So oftentimes the dead horses are sold to foreign countries to be eaten. But more often the dead horses are being delivered to a zoo in order to feed animals.
The gummy bears are made from bones and muscles from dead animals. As we mentioned above, we don’t use animals to produce glue to the same extent as earlier.
Today the factories will typically produce glue called “polyvinyl acetate” (also known as PVA). This type of glue is cheaper to produce and also easier to work with.
It would harden at specific temperatures which was a good thing when you wanted to separate the two pieces. The ingredient mix is secret, but they have specifically stated that they do not use animal collagen anymore.
Other people argue that the laughing cow on Elmer’s glue bottles is a symbol of happy animals that got to live. Because they found other and better ways of producing glue more efficiently the cattle can now keep smiling.
Yes, it’s true not only horses but several other animals are brutally murdered to make glue. Yes, Glue made from horse parts like hooves and bones.
These parts are rich in collagen which is the main component of Animal glue. This glue is sticky in wet form and very hard when dried.
Horses used for thousands of years but still some misconceptions about the production of glue need to be solved. The practice of deriving glue from horses is several thousand years old and no one really knows how exactly old it is.
So, the “human nature” got curious, and they started experimenting and this led to the foundation of animal glue. And then the United States of America decided to follow the trend by opening a glue factory in 1899.
The glue making process is fairly simple as it is made by boiling the animal hide, hooves, bones, and tendons. Bones, tendons, and skin releases collagen, a substance that when cooked turns into glue.
The demand for animal glue by professional craftsmen, designers, and manufacturers has kept it alive. This is the reason why we keep hearing that the horse is being sent to the glue factory.
They do not necessarily have to be murdered to turn into the glue, even a dead horse that is of no use is useful. Unfortunately, it is now only used to fix broken furniture and stringed musical instruments.
Even if it is strong, glued parts can still be taken apart as heat and humidity soften it. 120F heat and 75%RH humidity is an ideal environment to melt the glue.
Hot glues are heated or sometimes mixed with boiling water to bring it to ready-to-use form. But this is the least desired form of horse glue as the risk of bacterial and fungal growth makes it sound like a waste of money.
But this threat can be avoided to some extent if we keep the leftovers in the refrigerator. Trim the non-desired parts(hair or meat particles) and cut it into the smaller pieces as small as you can.
Find the most hated pot you have in the kitchen as it is going to ruin the plot. To check whether it’s done or not, put it on your finger, place your thumb on it and see if it sticks to it or not.
Once it is settled, break it into the smaller pieces using a kitchen knife. Keep breaking the piece every day until the crumbles dry off completely.
But make sure you have a scented candle or something as the mixture starts boiling it produces a very strong unpleasant smell so scented candles and room fresheners would be a great help. As the factories are making the commercial-grade glue on a large scale, so they follow a different procedure.
The extracted collagen is concentrated and converted into the noodles form then it is sent for milling and the rest of the process is performed there. As the glue requirements increased with the time the unavailability of fresh raw material led the makers to wonder and that’s how they found the cheap alternatives.
As the cheap alternatives were readily available and the fresh raw material(Bones, teeth, skin, tendons) is impossible to store and then the synthetic glue is doing a pretty good job so it got expensive and started disappearing silently from the world’s map. It gets shrunk and darker with time, further climate change, humidity is also the biggest threat to your glued furniture and artwork.
If you can find a ready-made horse glue or could arrange the ingredients to make you own this is what you need to know. Horsehide glue is a popular glass mender for it’s shrinking ability.
It hardens and shrinks, bringing the shattered piece closer that even the evidence of its brokenness disappears. Glass artists are also still a fan of animal glue as it has helped in creating many masterpieces.
A warm water bath is needed to turn the glue into magic as it can only be applied when it is hot. As mentioned above it works only when it is hot so it can only be applied with a brush or spatula.
Running for a brush or spatula when the glue is in ready to use mode is an unpleasant situation after all. The parts(bones, tendons, skin, etc) that produce the substance called collagen are boiled to make the glue.
Because of its previous formulation, it is still misunderstood as an animal glue even though they have changed the ingredients several years ago. It may not or may turn out a little weaker than the glue made in the factory but it will still be strong enough to do the job for you.
It is not popular for office and regular school projects but for glass artists and Carpenters it is still as precious as Diamonds. A horse that has just died can also be purchased for this purpose but killing to turn into glue is more common.
Rubbing a vinegar-soaked cotton pad and then rinsing it off with mild soap will help you get rid of this problem. No, the school glue we find in the market is not made from horses.
No doubt, horse glue is strong and handy but it is expensive and takes a lifetime to develop. Frequent heating or overheating makes it completely useless.
This is the reason why it is advised to take all the precautions seriously when it comes to using horse or animal glue. All hide glues make a stronger bond with natural fibers.
Even though it is considered a permanent solution but still moisture, steam, and heat can undo the action performed. Horse glue was a popular stationery item till the 18th century.
Cartilage, tendons, and ligaments make excellent quality horse glue. Dead horses are as useful for glue factories if they are handed over to them at the right time.
If you have no problem with paying a high price for a product that is not even that popular. Skin, tendons, and bones are used to make the strongest and longest-lasting glue and this has been in practice for the longest time even though history has lost count.
Cattle and pigs are also used to make glue but horse are preferred as they produce collagen in large amounts. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers.
I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.
Here's where that quote originates from, and more about what raw materials are really used to manufacture glues. In fact, no animals have ever been brought into our North Carolina manufacturing plant for glue production.
This type of dry granular glue, which is mixed with hot water for application, has existed since ancient times. Between 1500–1000 BC, it was used for wood furnishings and mural paintings, found even on the caskets of Egyptian Pharaohs.
As the name suggest, the hides are soaked in a solution to extract the collagen (similar to bone broth today). That collagen “slurry” floats to the top, is removed, dried and ground up into the crystals you see above.
It is most commonly used in woodworking applications, as it has a number of reversibility advantages for hand work. Our team has long-standing partnerships with some of the world's largest pharmaceutical gelatin users.
They are formulated with a few additional raw materials, including: water, glycerin, Epsom salt, and corn sugar. So if you're wondering if anyone is taking their horse to the glue factory, you can rest assured they are certainly not bringing it to LD Davis.
If you'd like to learn more about our gelatin glues, or our manufacturing process, feel free to contact our technical team! Last week, I attempted to lead my class in a Valentine's Day crafting free-for-all.
The final items passed around were little, innocuous bottles of Elmer’s Glue. Mari, one of my more precocious students (I also suspect her parents are members of the local 4H club), took one look at her bottle and turned as white as its contents.
She then shrieked like a banshee, “this stuff is made from dead horses !” and started weeping. Then came a chorus of cries, snickers, boisterous saying and the kind of pandemonium only a room full of 8-year-olds can generate.
I reassured the kids that this was not true at all but it was too late ... Mari’s declaration had sparked a mini glue revolt and I scrapped the project for the day. The thing is, I’m well-aware of the old adage about “sending retired horses to the glue factory,” but I always considered it a silly saying.
Little Mari (sounds like she has a knack for causing a ruckus ... sorry couldn’t resist) although on to something, is slightly misinformed. Glue, historically, is indeed made from collagen taken from animal parts, particularly horse hooves and bones.
The exact formula and specific ingredients used in making Elmer's products are considered proprietary information, therefore, we cannot share those with you. An informative class field trip to a local rendering plant is out of the question and I wouldn’t sit down Mari down for a chat about the environmental ills of petrochemicals.
There’s nontoxic, made-in-Italy Coaching Adhesive Glue Sticks, but they can be pricey and hard to come by. Plus, they smell like marzipan so any students already prone to paste eating might be tempted to snack on the craft supplies.
Kids are fickle and unless Mari really loves horses, she may have already totally forgotten about it. Horses are such majestic animals with that funny snort and a great mane.
We will answer that in short before we dive deeply into the relation of horses with glue making. Horses are used for making glue due to the high collagen concentration in their body.
However, if you send a living horse to a glue factory, that is equivalent to the slaughtering of the poor animal, which is truly disheartening. As horrible as that sounds, the real picture isn’t that terrible (at least not typically), but before getting to what horse glue is, let’s understand the term ‘ glue.’ Glue, as often referred to as adhesive, fixative o gum, is an adhesive substance that due to the molecular structure and coagulation power of the components present is used for sticking objects and materials together.
Glue has active ingredient collagen (a kind of protein) that is converted to gelatin, which is the star player and the essential element for creating an adhesive substance. The adhesive is generally made from sick or dead horses using their cartilage, tendons, hooves, hides, and bones (the key places where most of the collagen is concentrated).
However, as of the modern age, they aren’t generally slaughtered to extract glue. Horses have a lot of collagen, and the animal protein has better adhesion and holding capacity than the synthetic glues.
In woodwork and restoration, the joints glued by horse glue can be separated, since, upon breakage, they come out cleanly without damaging the look or the texture of the wood. The horse glue provides a firm joint, which means the furniture or object on which it is used, doesn’t bend over time.
This is both an advantage and disadvantage since when you are working with horse glue, you’d constantly have to keep warming it so that it doesn’t tighten after cooling down. Also, horse glue has a clear texture and doesn’t go inert upon cooling down, thus upon the tearing of the binding over time, and it can be bound again without incurring any damage to the pages.
The one radical change is that it isn’t as much used in the modern age as it used to be in ancient times, ever since the advent of synthetic glues that have emerged as good alternatives for regular use. In 2000 BC, the Egyptians were the first ones to use liquid adhesive made from extracts of blood, skin, brain, bones and connective tissue of animals.
For the sake of humanity, many companies have started using polymer chemistry to create formulations that have been efficiently used for glue making engineered for woodwork and restoration. These glues can be wiped, or brushed, or sprayed, and they dry fast, getting hard and waterproof alongside being stain resistant.
Debunked: No, modern age animal glue isn’t made by killing or slaughtering horses (typically) but from recycled gelatin. If you think horse glue doesn’t hold up, go check the museum, and you’ll know.
If you store it properly, the glue lasts longer and for years to come. Similarly, you can again apply a coating of the glue to correct whatever you did wrong in the process.
Now, they use their own ‘proprietary formula’ for making glues that aren’t extracted from animal parts. In the modern age, dead horses are used for human consumption as food, a trend that we strongly abhor and demotivate.
Hooves and horns of cattle and pigs are generally used for making glue nowadays. Horses are raised as companions, not as food animals, to kill at the end of the day.
You can raise your voice against horse slaughter by reaching out to several National Humane Groups organizations opposed to the insane cruelty that includes American Sanctuary Association, Animals’ Angels USA, Born Free, USA, etc. You can help stop this by reaching out to your legislators and urging them to cosponsor the SAFE act.
This protein colloid glues are formed through hydrolysis of the collagen from skins, bones, tendons, and other tissues, similar to gelatin. The word “collagen” itself derives from Greek koala, glue.
These proteins form a molecular bond with the glued object. In the old westerns and Bugs Bunny cartoons that pretty much formed my thought processes as a child, they would always threaten to send the old horse to the glue factory.
You get points for acknowledging Cecil as the man, but if you'd done even a little of reading, you'd have come across the horse/ glue factory connection pretty often. These days, it's more common (an undocumented source says 90% of all domestic horses) for unwanted horses to be sent to a slaughterhouse if still alive, or a rendering plant (AKA the knackers, the knacker) if deceased.
When asked how he achieved this, he replied, I whisper in the horse's ear: Roses are red, violets are blue. Animal (origin) glue is made from connective tissue, found in hoofs, bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage in vertebrate animals.
A hundred years ago, many old horses were killed and sent to the glue factory. But today, most glue is made from the bones and hooves of cattle, which thanks to the fast-food burger places, there are a lot of these by-products to be used.
Although Elmer's firmly states their products are made from synthetic materials and are not derived from processing horses, cows or any other animals. Horses are amazing creatures and the many body parts are used for very special products when they die.
There’s a special thing inside the hooves of the horse which is called collagen. The horse-based glue used to be very common and used everywhere but today it is mainly used for finer products such as furniture, glass art, bookbinding, etc.
You have probably heard that horse hair are used for the finest violin bows we find in a classical orchestra. The paintbrushes made from horsehair have the ability to hold a lot of paint.
This enables the painter to paint longer time before he or she has to dip the brush into the bucket. This is one of the reasons why paintbrushes made from horses are still being used today both for fine art and for painting walls.
The other reason why people prefer these brushes over other types are found in the way the paint is applied to the wallpaper or the canvas. The gelatin is found in the hooves, just we mentioned in the beginning when we were talking about glue made from horses.
You might’ve noticed that your fingers are often getting really sticky when you are eating a piece of duck meat. As we mentioned earlier, the hair from a horse is very durable and it can also be pretty stiff.
This type of fabric is called “haircloth” and it is typically made from either horsehair or hair from a camel. But today we usually use artificially made garments for the stiffer parts of clothing.
Traditionally, the hair from horses has been spun together to create a very long fishing line. Back in the day, people will chop off a few strings of hair from the tail of the horse in order to make fishing line.
Several pieces of hair would be spun together to create a very strong and durable line that could hold even a big fish during a feisty fight. This was the case for thousands of years until we found a better (and cheaper) way to create fishing lines from nylon etc.
If you have horses, you can easily cut off a couple of hairs from the tail in order to create some amazing pieces of art. It’s not allowed here in the states that it’s a very common source of meat in countries such as France.
I have actually tasted it once at a family party where someone recently had a horse put down (in Denmark). Most of us would guess that we were eating meat from a deer or a reindeer but after finding out, most of us became pretty uncomfortable, as you can imagine.
The meat and the milk from horses are considered to be cleaner as that of cattle in this area because they carry fewer diseases. The horses are slaughtered during November where the meat will contain fatter than during the spring and summer.