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Home / News / Articles / History of duct tape

History of duct tape

The duct tape familiar to us owes its appearance to the American Richard Drew. In 1923, he began working as a technician for the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, today known as 3M. In those days, its main product was sandpaper for various purposes.

But even then, the research department of 3M was testing new promising materials with might and main. Among them — cellophane, a product with good water-repellent properties. The result of the experiments was a convenient packaging material, which quickly fell in love with the producers of bread and sweets. It was then that Richard Drew became interested in its properties.

Richard's diligence and initiative quickly noticed — and sent to oversee testing at auto repair shops and shops for new Wetordry sandpaper.

At one of the services, Drew's attention was drawn to a problem that was common in those days: when painting a car in several colors, the employee spent much more time correcting defects than repainting itself. Special paper was used as a color separator, and when removed, the bottom layer of paint sometimes deteriorated.

Richard decided to help. Some time later, Drew brought masking tape to the auto repair shop, the edges of which were treated with glue. Unfortunately, the first pancake turned out lumpy — the ribbon got wet, shrank and the border of the flowers turned out to be crooked.

It was then that the tape got its name — that's what the angry customer called the tape. The Scots in those days were famous for their stinginess. It was understood that if Richard did not spare the glue for processing the masking tape completely, the result could well have been different.

Drew didn't give up trying to help the auto repair shop. It took him 5 long years to create an adhesive tape that easily stuck to the body and just as easily peeled off. And in 1930 such material finally appeared! Soon, the adhesive tape was put into mass production, and after 2 years it acquired a convenient blade — now it was possible to cut the tape without the help of a second hand.

For a couple of decades, duct tape has become the hottest item in Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing — it began to sell almost twice as much as sandpaper. And soon the product became so popular that the word «scotch» began to call any adhesive tape, not only from 3M.

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