Scotch tape

3M Company

Scotch tape (1930)

In the 1920s American inventor Richard Drew invented masking tape and cellophane tape. Working at 3M (est. 1902), in the days a modest manufacturer of sandpaper, Drew learned that two-tone auto paintjobs were difficult to manage at the border between the two colors. After two years of work in 3M’s labs, Drew invented the first masking tape, a tan paper strip backed with a light, pressure-sensitive adhesive. In its first trial run, it fell off the car and the frustrated auto painter told Drew to take the tape back to his Scotch bosses. With ‘Scotch’ he meant: don’t be so economic, just put more adhesive on it. The nickname stuck and by putting on more adhesive on his newly invented cellophane material the first cellulose tape was born.

Although it is a trademarked brand name, Scotch tape in many countries is commonly used as a generic term for transparent adhesive tape. In 1961 Scotch came up with a new invention, the magic tape. This matte finish tape is invisible on paper and can be written upon with pen and resists drying out or yellowing.

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© 3M Company, Maplewood, US

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