Tag Archives: american cyanamid

Who Invented Glow Sticks?

And Why?


The U.S. Government funded research in the chemical generation of light from 1963 through 1984. Those initial scientists, working out of Naval Air Weapons Center China Lake, were trying to recreate the bioluminescent qualities of fireflies when they discovered chemiluminescence – the chemistry that powers light sticks today.

Fifteen separate research contracts were awarded to American Cyanamid Company over this time period for the specific purpose of developing practical lighting systems that would not generate heat or require electricity to operate.

Cyalume Technologies is American Cyanamid’s spun-off chemical light department. So, when we say we’ve been around since the dawn of chemical light – we mean it!

“That’s pretty cool. What else have you invented?”

Glad you asked! Since the American Cyanamid days, our research and development team, based out of Massachusetts, has invented all sorts of things – new molecules, scientific processes, form factors, chemical light product designs and tactical and safety applications for chemical light. Some of these are available to consumers today, and others are available only to the US military and approved organizations.

We are extremely proud of our involvement in the creation of chemical light in the 1960’s and especially honored to still be the sole supplier of chemical light to the US Armed Forces all these years later. We believe it’s a true testament to our commitment to quality and innovation.

Learn more about Cyalume.