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It is hard to imagine a world without sticky tape. There are now a plethora of specialist tapes, each formulated for a particular task. The Wikipedia list includes Office, Parcel, Masking, Drafting, Electrical, Surgical, Gaffer, Duct and Double Sided.

Each is made using a carefully formulated adhesive applied to a particular supporting material. Unlike tubes of glue each tape provides instant access to a strong adhesive that can be applied easily.


Archeologists have found earthenware pots mended with glue made from tree sap dating from about 4000BC.  The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese all developed and recorded  recipes for glue made from bones, fish and plants.

In the 1920‘s Richard Drew, while working for 3M. invented a masking tape for use in the burgeoning car industry.  Later in 1930 he created a tape on a clear plastic film for general household use called Scotch tape. In 1937 a a similar product called Sellotape was developed in the UK by Colin Kinnimouth and George Gray.

Duct Tape was invented in 1942 as a waterproof  seal for canisters and an easy tear material that could be used to repair equipment in WW2.


To make household tape large rolls of  clear polypropylene film are treated with s solvent to prevent them from sticking together.The film is then coated with an adhesive carefully formulated to release from the back of the roll of tape whilst sticking to other surfaces. It is made from synthetic rubber which  makes it flexible, an anti oxidant to prevent ageing, a UV agent to stop drying and discolouring and a resin to gives it stickiness.

The hot adhesive is applied to the film which passes through cooling rollers which set the glue. When coated the roll is slit into the required widths.

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