Saturday, September 15, 2007

Who Put the Scotch in Scotch Tape?

As a family with young children, we are very appreciative of the work of Richard Drew, a laboratory technician with 3M, who developed Scotch Tape. Thank you. Although we rarely use the branded variety of Scotch Tape and the kids call it sticky tape, it is incredibly useful stuff.

This tells the story of how the name stuck.

After some experiments — can you imagine any company today allowing a lab technician/sales representative to engage in product research and development, no matter how smart? — Drew had a version he was ready to try out with a customer. He took his roll of masking tape — a two-inch wide paper strip backed with adhesive — out for a field test:

He brought a prototype roll to a St. Paul auto painter. The painter carefully applied the masking tape along the edge of the color already painted and was just about to spray on the second color when the tape fell off. The annoyed painter examined the 2-inch wide tape and saw that it had adhesive only along its outer edges, but not in the middle.

Annoyed, the painter said to Drew, "Take this tape back to those Scotch bosses of yours and tell them to put more adhesive on it!"

The name — like the improved tape it inspired — stuck.

More good stuff on Scotch Tape and how to make a Duct Tape wallet from Citizen Arcane here.

I think that there has to be grounds for a class action law suit. Any Scots want to join in? Perhaps we could stick it to 3M.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Nice story. I never thought about its origins before.

Bag said...

I'm with you. I understand the UK is the best place to sue anyone. It's because we are full of whingy whiney people who want something for nothing I expect.

Bag said...

Well looks like it's just the 2of us. So that means 2M against 3M. Better odds than the last time I had my head kicked in.

Mike Wallace said...

I'd like to see a lawsuit from the Wallace Clan for the use of our tartans.

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