Why Horses Make Good Glue

Illustration for article titled Why Horses Make Good Glue

If you ever drive through Northern France, you'll see a lot of butchers that sell horse meat. You'll also see a lot of glue factories. The two are very definitely linked — but why is it that horses make good glue?


One word: collagen. Over at Slate, there's a great explanation about the long, and oddly fascinating, history of glue-making. But what it all boils down to is that one protein, collagen. You find it in cartilage and tendons, and lurking inside bones. If you boil enough of those body parts down with some water, you get a gelatin.

Yep: that's the stuff that makes Jell-O set and Gummy bears chewy. And it makes damn good glue, too. But it's not that horse glue is actually better than any other animal glue; it's just that historically horses were plentiful, so it made sense to use them. You should definitely read the Slate pirce though — it makes for great reading. [Slate; Image: Moyan Brenn]



Vegans have a problem with the animal product thickeners as you would expect. Some time ago I noticed that the caramel in Snickers and Milky Way was much thicker and wouldn't run like it use to after braking the bar open. Did some research and found out that Mars had changed the formula from a vegetable base to an animal base. My vegan friend was so pissed about it. I can actually say I prefer the texture of the old vegetable thickener, it melted on the tongue.