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The Boston Blacking Company: A great beginning

In 1889, the Boston Blacking Company, a producer of leather colourings and dyes for the shoemaking industry, was founded in Chelsea, Massachusetts. The company grew in several countries through mergers, acquisitions and organic growth. By the late 1920’s, the Boston Blacking Company was established in 12 countries across three continents and employed over 1,000 chemists and technicians. A number of products has been launched under the Bostik brand as early as the 1940’s and took on the Bostik company name in the 1960’s.

Growth through acquisition

In 1980, Bostik was taken over by the Connecticut group Emhart Corporation, which nine years later was, itself, bought up by Black & Decker. Black & Decker split apart the mechanical and chemical activities of the group to leave Bostik as a stand-alone concern. 

In 1990, the French oil and gas group Total acquired Bostik and merged its own adhesive affiliates into it. 

TotalFina and Elf Aquitaine merged to form TotalFinaElf, subsequently renamed Total.  Their respective adhesives divisions, Bostik and Atofindley, were brought together to form Bostik Findley SA and the name was subsequently changed in 2004 to Bostik SA.

In 2013, Bostik revisited its brand identity, with a new signature “smart adhesives” and a gecko inspired from nature with a science-based connection to Bostik’s adhesives business . 

In 2015, Arkema, a Specialty Materials player offering innovative and sustainable solutions, acquired Bostik. 

From pioneering waterproof boots to launching the first elastic attachment adhesive used in a baby diaper, our history is full of smart innovation.  

Since 1889 we’ve patented over 9,000 technologies covering everything from aerospace interior adhesives to Blu-Tack. And we’ve evolved enormously along the way, growing from a local dye manufacturer to a global industry leader.  


+130 years of innovation
Method of filling shoe bottom cavities
Patented September 2, 1913
“Be it known that I, Winthrop D. Baker, […] have invented new and useful improvement in methods of filling shoe-bottom cavities […]. This invention relates to the provision of shoe bottoms with filling materials between the outer and inner soles in order to give the shoe pliability.”
Shoes sealing and waterproof boots
During World War I, United Shoe Machinery (USM) provided shoe machines and operator instructions entirely new in shoemaking. In 1917, they turned over a shoe repair caravan that could go anywhere, including the front lines. This experience led USM to produce resistant waterproof boots for soldiers.
In 1922, Quellhyd introduced potato starch-based wallpaper paste onto the French market. The Doittau firm formulated their chemistry in Germany and drew inspiration from German to create the brand name (“Quellen”, to expand whilst cold and “Hyd”, using water). Wallpaper paste expanded with the addition of water to the powder, forming a thick texture. Quellhyd, renamed Quelyd in the 1960’s, has continued to be highly successful.
Sealing and bonding solutions for automotive and aircraft
Bostik adhesive, sealing and glazing products were developed to be water and heat resistant, able to withstand temperatures ranging from -30 to 100° C. Some of these, were used in the construction of the Airspeed Ambassador in the early 50’s. During the same period, Bostik began producing innovative solutions for the automotive industry.
First Neoprene based contact glue
Boston Blacking Company formulated rubber-based contact adhesives in 1954 to stick floor and decorative coverings to various surfaces that provided excellent resistance to vibrations. Its initial viscous composition is today more liquid, for easier and faster application.
Dispensing hot melts
In the 1960’s, USM developed a novel application technique for hot melts used in the footwear industry. The polyamide-based (and, later on, polyester-based) hot melt adhesive is delivered in bobbins and melted down as a continuous bead, facilitating automation of the bonding process.
Blu Tack®
British consumers are all familiar with Bostik’s synthetic putty product Blu Tack®, launched in the early 1970’s. As a strong but removable and reusable adhesive putty, Blu Tack® can be used everywhere and for several uses. Today, Blu Tack® is a mainstay of Bostik’s stationery and craft ranges, which are used all over the world.
First elastic attachment adhesive for disposable diapers
“In 1975 in Milwaukee, we had clients who were trying to stick a rubber band to a polyethylene (plastic) film. The customer was developing the first diaper that had an elastic leg feature. It took us 20 attempts to get it right and we successfully produced the first elastic attachment adhesive for diapers ever made!”
Mark Alper, Bostik Inc.
Technical Manager, R&D Laboratory, Wauwatosa USA.
First Silyl modified polymer-based elastic adhesives
In 2001, Bostik was the first to launch SMP’s: silyl modified polymer-based elastic adhesives. They are highly elastic, waterproof and adhere to all types of surfaces, indoors and outdoors and in all types of weather. They stick to everything, everywhere, from coat hooks to railway windshields to rivets on airplane wings. Nails, screws and bolts are becoming a thing of the past!
First patented pressure sensitive adhesive for resealable food packaging
Bostik was the first to patent extrudable reseal adhesives and we continue to transform food packaging materials with this smart technology. The reseal adhesives provide a less wasteful, more environmentally-friendly and easier to use alternative to conventional non-resealable containers.
Fix & Flash
In 2019, Bostik launches Fix & Flash, a professional technology that bonds on demand and on any material (even opaque) thanks to its drying UV system.

We continue to pursue innovation just as vigorously as our predecessors and we look forward with the confidence to the next 130 years of our history.

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