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Do you know the Scotch tape story?

Posted by Matthew Painter on

When we saw this image today of an old roll of Scotch tape it reminded us of few things! A few decades ago there was no such thing as a 'self' adhesive tape - most sticky tapes were glue coated paper or plastic tapes that had to be activated with heat or moisture and then stuck onto the required surface. 

As far back as the 1920s an American called Richard Drew began experimenting with putting adhesives onto tapes but it took many years for Scotch tape to really take off as a product, and up until the 1980s water activated glue tapes were still the most common packaging materials.

Can you spot the source of the later to be world-famous 3M adhesive brand on this picture of an old roll of Scotch tape?

You can read the full story about Scotch tape and how it started here. It is a fascinating story of a product evolving through trial and error and many thousands of adhesive tapes worldwide have been developed as a result of these early trials and innovations.

These days adhesive tapes are so common that the 'self' in 'self-adhesive' tapes has been dropped and any adhesive or double sided tape is now assumed to already be sticky, without any need for activation before applying. This might seem a small change, but pre-activated adhesives have actually been a revolution over the last 50 years in applying glue for any purpose, saving thousands of hours of time on some jobs. Think of any exhibition and consider the amount of display and print material on banners, signs, exhibition stands, presentations and you get some idea what would have been involved before humble old scotch tape and double sided tapes came along!

However, with so much available now, double sided and adhesive tapes can be a baffling overload of technical specifications and jargon. Recently, when we set out to create the new Guarantape range of double sided and glue tapes we condensed all this confusing information into a simple adhesive level system so you can quickly decide what adhesive your job needs and then choose from tapes available in that level. It looks like adhesive tapes continue to need innovation!


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