The hot glue gun is an essential tool for any DIY craftsperson. Hot glue is used in a number of applications, but before the gun was invented, many people would burn themselves through the dipping of hot glue in a pot. In the 1940’s, a shoemaker by the name of George Schultz decided that there had to be a better way. His idea led to the development of the first industrial glue gun, called the Polygun. Schultz eventually sold his idea to 3M in 1973 for almost $4 million.
Schultz was the last of nine children and his father was a carpenter by trade. He joined the Navy in 1943, went to night school in order to study engineering, and when he got married, he was so poor that they had the ceremony on a weekday because it was cheaper. Schultz holds more than 50 patents, so here is a look at some of his best inventions.
1. The Fiberglass Car
Schultz built a car in 1958 thanks to a kit that was sold by Colt Motors at the time. Instead of having a steel frame like most cars of the day, however, he had one built from the same fiberglass that was used for boats. It was said that if he didn’t park his car properly, he would just get out and pick up the car to move it because it was so light.
2. Forming Box Toes
Because Schultz was a shoemaker by trade, many of his inventions involved improving the construction of the shoe or speeding them up. He invented a box toe forming machine in 1969 with his machinery company that allowed for one of the most popular shoes at the time to be made automatically instead of by hand. This allowed for less labor, more profits, and cheaper shoes that could be made.
3. Bottom Ironer
Because shoes are made from leather, the material tends to wrinkle up somewhat when the bottom and the uppers are stitched together. Schultz invented an improved machine that could help to smooth out the uppers while heating the bottom and it could be used for right or left shoes. His new ironer could also work with multiple heel heights, which was a first for the industry.
4. Heel Nailing
It’s one of the most time consuming aspects of making a shoe, but it’s also one of the most important. Without a secure heel, a shoe can fall apart on someone and create an injury. Instead of having to nail a shoe together by hand a risk an injury, Schultz created a device that could help to secure a heel more quickly and more safely.
5. Margin Rougheners
In order for a shoe to be ready for hot glue that seals the shoe, the leather must be roughened in order for the wrinkles to be smoothed out. This was often done by hand with wire bristles, but Schultz created an invention that contained a rotating wire brush that could do the work automatically. This allowed the job to be done with a minimum amount of skill and much more rapidly than before.
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