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Adhesive Tapes

Re-mov/DSR5 works on a lot of products and materials! See list here.

Adhesive tapes of one kind or another are so common that it's hard to imagine a world without them. They make quick temporary (or sometimes permanent) repairs of almost anything you'd care to mention. There is a type of tape for almost every need: single-sided scotch tape, double-sided photo mounting tape, waterproof duct tape, painters' masking tape, reflective tape…the list is endless.

Tape can be made of virtually any flexible medium such as textile, paper or a polymer sheet of plastic coated with an adhesive and ususally a pressure sensitive agent that allows the tape to be removed or repositioned as needed.

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The actual origins of tape are obscure. We do know, however, that before tape, there was glue, fabric, paper, animal skins, and string usually made from animal gut. No doubt somewhere along the line someone put some glue and a backing together. Egyptians used cloth and plaster of Paris to make masks. 17th century lute makers used small coin-size bits of paper and glue to hold thin strips of sycamore in place during construction of their musical instruments. But the first modern manufactured tape was for surgical purposes and combined a rubber-based gum with cotton cloth. Horace Day & William Shecut patented it in 1845 in New York.

In 1921 Earle Dickson, a cotton buyer for Johnson and Johnson, invented the Band-Aid. Surgical bandages used at the time, like the ones Dr. Day had invented, kept falling off so Dickson attached a piece of gauze to some cloth-backed tape and covered it with crinoline.

Richard Drew, an engineer for 3M (then known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company) developed the ever-ubiquitous masking tape in 1925. By then cloth-backed tape was in common use in industry, but bled when used as a tape for masking over-painting. As a solution, Drew used paper, for the first time, as a pressure-sensitive adhesive backing. A few years later in 1930, he invented a clear cellulose tape called Scotch Brand.

Duct Tape was developed by Johnson and Johnson in 1942, during World War II, to meet the army's need for waterproof tape that could seal canisters and repair equipment. Duct tape is essentially a cloth tape coated with polyethylene. It has superior gripping ability, making it easy to use in the field for emergency repairs.


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