The WD-40 family
The WD-40 family

Supply audit: WD-40

1 September 2017

The 60-year-old magic formula that can fix, remove or free-up anything – and some think it smells good too

What’s the deal behind this iconic spray?

There is some confusion. Many believe that company boss Norm Larsen engineered the formula, but others argue it was Iver Norman Lawson, and that history has confused the names. The story goes that in 1953 three scientists were holed up in a San Diego laboratory, experimenting with a solution for ballistic missile rust protection. They called themselves the Rocket Chemical Company. After failing 39 times, the trio found success at the 40th attempt, and named their product Water Displacement – 40th Formula, shortened to…

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