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Early History of Adhesive Tape

The history of adhesive tape dates back to the 1920’s when Richard Drew used cellophane paper to create a tape with an adherent, sticky surface. The first “adhesive tape” was created as masking for use with various industrial products. But, Drew’s creation showed promise for other uses in packaging as well. The first came to be called “cellophane tape” owing to the first material used to create it.

“Scotch” Tape – 1930

When the first roll of “cellophane tape” was sent to a customer in 1930, the 3M company was moved to produce a product known as “Scotch”, the more familiar name by which the product is known. However, since the early days, the types of tapes sold today are virtually endless in variety.

Adhesive Tape – Uses

The primary use has been packaging. Packaging tapes come in a wide range of sizes from narrow half-inch to shipping sizes which range from one and a half inches to two inches. Sizes are standardized so that they can be used with dispensers. The material from which adhesive tapes are made today are cellophane, acrylic, fiberglass, silicone, foil, rubber and paper, depending on the strength of the bonding required for the particular project. In addition to packaging and shipping for cartons, boxes and parcels for mailrooms, they are used as sealants for ductwork, electrical wiring as well as for strapping of containers and for stabilizing carpeting. Adhesive tapes may be double sided, reinforced for sealing, velcro-sided and foam-backed for insulation purposes.

Special Purpose Adhesives

Adhesive tapes are used for special jobs. As an example, painters often use masking varieties as their guide so that paint doesn’t over-extend from walls into ceilings. Polyimide film is used for masking circuit boards and splicing wires. There are also heavy duty versions for stronger bonding of items of heavy weight. Acid-free versions are used to mat and frame pictures, artwork and documents. They are also manufactured for permanent bonds in high temperature industrial areas. Adhesive transfer tape is most often used to adhere small signs to a smooth surface. Double-sided black foam versions are preferably for mounting heavy dispensers like mailboxes, lavatory dispensers, fiberglass panels and large signs. Vinyl acrylic tapes are used by law enforcement to cordon off crime scene areas.

The Many Styles of Adhesive Tape

In addition to the familiar “roll” of tape, it is sold in large coils for industrial purposes, pre-cut in various sizes and shapes from strips to small adhesive “dots” in single or double-sided ranges. Adhesive tape dispensers are usually sold with the tape roll for household and school uses. Larger desktop dispensers, hand-held and larger industrial “roller” dispenser are sold for additional convenience in handling projects where cohesion is required.

A Convenience and Necessity

Adhesive tape serves numerous purposes. The convenience of them makes it virtually indispensable around the home and business. Whenever an important document suffers a sudden tear, adhesive tape repairs it fast.