Original Use of WD-40

Original Use of WD-40

WD-40 has been around for a long time – it was first commercially available in 1958. That is over 50 years of successfully lubing up the world. It is very well known for its ability to lubricate practically anything around the house or outside. But do you know what WD-40’s original intended purpose was? Well even if you don’t know, we are going to tell you anyway.

WD-40 was originally invented for military purposes. No, they didn’t use it for lubing up guns and tanks as you might suppose. Strangely enough, it was originally intended to protect the exterior of nuclear warheads. How might a little lube protect a nuclear warhead?

As you may have noticed, missiles don’t require lubrication since they only have a single moving part – uranium that violently explodes into a wave of vaporizing radiation. The WD-40 was invented with the sole purpose of protecting the outer shell of missiles by displacing water. This was one of the greatest products on the market, you know, for people who owned intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles.


It’s a relatively small target market.

WD means Water Displacement, and the 40 is because it was the 40th attempt at making a long-lasting water displacement solution.


  1. 9:37 pm-January 23, 2014
    Grant Williams

    It’s funny how you find a product that can do just about anything, but never think to ask “what was it actually made for”. Thanks for the interesting read!

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