The U.S. Navy invented glow sticks. The earliest patent was secured in 1965, while later patents were filed by Navy inventors for more advanced versions of the devices. Glow sticks are temporary light sources consisting of translucent plastic tubing that holds glowing chemicals.
Glow sticks illuminate by means of a chemical reaction activated when the outside portion of the container is flexed, allowing the solutions to combine and react. After breaking, the tubes are shaken to mix the chemicals completely. After the chemical reaction is activated, the light of a glow stick cannot be shut off; it gradually dims and goes out on its own. The mixture inside glow sticks should be kept away from skin and should not be ingested.