Throwback Thursday: The Sticky Business of Plywood


Who knew that plywood was invented because the military was looking for a lightweight, strong material for airplane wings in World War I? Shortly after America’s entrance into the war, FPL initiated an elaborate investigation into the mechanical properties of plywood for wing ribs.

A new engine bearer was designed for the then revolutionary De Haviland plane. This bearer was of plywood about an inch thick, cut out of a solid sheet of plywood and lightened as much as possible through the use of lightening holes.

Closely associated with most of the aircraft work at FPL was the all-important research into glues. A special staff of chemists and assistants was gathered together and the necessary equipment installed to do this research. Pictured above is one of those pieces of equipment–a glue-spreading machine.

FPL continues its work on adhesives to this day, although none of our researchers have been seen sporting stylish aprons in the process.