Naming WD-40 & the Ball Peen Hammer


Dear NH,
I'm dying to know... how did WD-40 get its name??? Also the ball peen hammer... just have to know! Please advise.

Dear J,
According to the WD-40 Company, the name "WD-40" originated in 1953 when the product was first developed. The company, originally known as the "Rocket Chemical Company", was trying to design a protectant for metal parts on rockets to prevent rust and corrosion by displacing water... hence the "WD" for water displacement.

The "40", on the other hand, indicates that the formula (still in use today, by the by) was the 40th attempt to get it right! And they did. Talk about persistence!

Let's 'hammer' down an answer to your second query! The "peen" on a hammer is by definition the end of the hammer head opposite the striking surface. In carpentry hammers, the peen is commonly a claw or wedge. On a ball peen hammer, the peen is ball shaped. To discriminate it from the common carpentry hammer, or "good ol' hammer", it is referred to as a ball peen hammer. This special purpose hammer is used in the hands of a skilled craftsman for shaping sheetmetal, their deft hammering technique curving and shaping it. Others of us just look at this unusual tool and wonder how to pull a nail with it. Hey, I hope you can sleep again now.

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