The History of Duck Tape
What is it?
What is strong enough to lift a car and suspend it in the air? Sticky enough to tape your baby to the wall and as waterproof as a duck's plumes?
Duck tape was invented in 1942 by The Industrial Tape Corporation, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, which would later become Permacel. Permacel still exists in New Brunswick, New Jersey, but was sold by Johnson & Johnson in 1982.
Duck or Duct (whichever you prefer) is one of the most useful inventions of all time. Highly under rated by some and hailed in a glorious league of it's own by others, there is no denying that duck tape has changed and saved many lives.
Band Aid's were invented in 1920. Doctors wanted bigger band aids or tape that would hold the gauze packed in wounds in place. Inventors combined a poly-coat adhesive and a coat of polyethylene for it's waterproof properties added it to a base of medical tape and created Duck Tape in 1942 as part of the war effort. Soldiers used the heavy duty tape to keep their ammunition boxes dry and it was also found to be a great material for closing open wounds.
A fabric tape that is strong, durable yet can be simply torn into strips with your two hands. A miracle tool!
Duck or Duct?
Duck tape was found to have so many purposes that it did not lose popularity after WWII ended. Builders and construction workers began to use this tape for it's versatility and tenacity. The name "duck" would transition to "duct." It actually did not work well for the one use it's name is derived from. It failed miserably as tape for heating and air conditioning. It separated, shrunk and sprang air leaks when they tried to use it for duct work.
In 1972, Duck Tape gained notoriety when it was used to repair a fender on a Moonbuggy by Nasa Astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt. You can view and listen to the recording of Gene Cernan making his famous, miracle repair on the moon by visiting Nasa Science, Science News.
In 2010, a charter pilot and fisherman left some bait in their small airplane feeling pretty confident it wouldn't get stolen in the Alaskan Wilderness. Sadly they were mistaken. This time the bear busted in like Goldilocks, had lunch, broke the chair and headed west.
The pilot had another plane drop off a couple of tires and Duck Tape and he was flying back home lickety split.
Fashion Model's Secret Tool!
The top super models have confided one of their best kept secret tricks in the dressing room is Duck Tape. Not only can you repair furniture in the dressing room, it helps the models keep their chests from falling into their drawers. It also has the added advantage of no visible bra straps for the backless dresses.
Your teen can win a college scholarship in the "Stuck at Prom" contest!
Mythbusters: Puts it to the Test
Discovery Channel's Mythbusters put Duct Tape to the ultimate test. They were stranded on a deserted island with nothing except a pallet of Duck Tape. Among many other things they use it to make beds, nets, shoes, a water collection system and a boat!
The City of Washington Uses it!
Make a Duct Tape Wallet
Duck Tape has been named one of the most useful tools invented of all time by Forbes.com for it's multiple uses. Racers often refer to it as 100 mile per hour tape for it's ability to quickly and effectively repair wrecked cars on the track. It can do everything from healing warts to making your wardrobe. You can even make it glow in the dark!
Duck Tape should always be included in every emergency tool kit or first aid kit. Backpackers commonly carry it and have compiled stories of how Duck Tape saved the day. Survivalists also include this as a must have in your disaster preparedness kit.
Not only can a roll of Duck Tape save your life or help you out of a jam, the new bright colors and designs can be used for an unlimited number of activties. Websites can be found that have instructional videos with tutorials for making Duck Tape flowers, clothes, flip flops, wallets, purses and many other creative art projects. I gave my kids rolls of colored Duck Tape and they each made wallets following the video instructions. They said it was lots of fun and it was very easy for them to do by themselves.
Duck Tape is so popular that there is an annual festival for enthusiasts in Avon, Ohio in June. This 3 day event features a parade with a contest for the best Duck Tape Float. The event is fun for all ages and registrants showcase their favorite Duck Tape trick.
While Duck Tape might be a true wonder with it's magical combination of duck cotton cloth and adhesive, it is little wonder why this fabric tape has woven itself around the world, from earth to space and into the hearts of all Americans.