According to the company that makes : literally stands for water displacement 40th attempt. That’s the name straight out of the lab book used by the chemist who helped develop back in 1953. Norm Larsen, was attempting to concoct a formula to prevent corrosion, a task which is done by displacing water. Norm’s persistence paid off when he perfected the formula for on his 40th try.

Rocket Chemical Company
WD-40 was invented by the three founders of the Rocket Chemical Company of San Diego, California. The team of inventors were working on a line of industrial rust-prevention solvents and degreasers for use in the aerospace industry.

WD-40 was first used to protect the outer skin of the Atlas Missile from rust and corrosion. Norm Larsen repackaged WD-40 into aerosol cans for consumer use and the product was sold to the general public in 1958. In 1969, the Rocket Chemical Company was renamed after its only product WD-40.

Interesting Uses for WD-40
Two of the craziet purposes for WD-40 include a bus driver in Asia who used WD-40 to remove a python snake which had coiled itself around the undercarriage of his bus, and police officers who used WD-40 to remove a naked burglar trapped in an air conditioning vent.

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