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WD-40 stands for “Water Displacement – 40th Attempt.” It was developed in 1953 by Norm Larsen, founder of the Rocket Chemical Company, San Diego, California. It was originally designed to repel water and prevent corrosion.

Larsen was attempting to create a formula to prevent corrosion in nuclear missiles, by displacing the standing water that causes it. He claims he arrived at a successful formula on his 40th attempt.

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