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Inventor Norman B. Larsen

WD-40 Water Displacement Solution

It seems that the issue surrounding consumer, computer and industrial equipment is becoming less about power and more about efficient power management. A recent two-part article by Sam Davis in Electronic Design illuminates the subject of switch-mode ICs and how they are changing the landscape of modern-day device power management.

How do you loosen and penetrate rusted or stuck bolts? How do you clean your tools, remove grease, or lubricate locks and hinges? The answer to these and 2,000-plus other such questions lies in utilizing the multipurpose WD-40, invented by industrial chemist Norman B. Larsen in 1953.

WD40 At the age of 30, Larsen was attempting to concoct a formula to displace water in order to prevent corrosion. He arrived at the successful formula on his 40th attempt and ultimately, decided to name the solution "WD-40" for "Water Displacement Solution 40th Attempt."

Larsen started his own consulting firm in Pennsylvania focused on metal and wood preservation techniques and had the Smithsonian Institute, the United States Marine Corps, and many other well-known institutions as clients.

Larsen was a self-taught expert in many fields, including chemistry. Earning only a high school diploma, Larsen had collected over 1,000 chemistry books in his personal library.

Larsen invented WD-40 at his company in San Diego, California, Rocket Chemical Co., targeting the booming aerospace industry out of his small lab, but he would later sell his company and his famous invention for just $10,000 and no future royalties. His dream was to invent something more useful and he went to work for CRC Industries, Inc. as their head chemist.

Rocket Chemical Co. was renamed after its major product, WD-40, in 1969.

Unfortunately, Larsen passed away at the young age of 47 in December of 1970, never able to surpass his WD-40 achievement. While Norman B. Larsen may not have achieved his personal goal, we at Jameco Electronics know that there are millions who salute him every day.