The Revolution of Adhesive Tapes
October 28, 2013
Adhesive tape may be one of the most useful materials known to man. Although the concept is simple; a strip of flat, flexible material coated on one or both sides with some type of adhesive, mankind somehow managed to survive for thousands of years before tape officially made an appearance in the mid 1800′s. While it has been said that Socrates made an expedient repair for a hole in his home by coating an animal skin with sap, a nineteenth century surgeon is credited with the first recorded use of tape, having devised a method of applying a rubber adhesive to a strip of cloth. One thing is certain; it would be hard to imagine a world without tape. There are many uses for tape, and thus many types of tape. Even so, it seems that no one type of tape in particular has only one single use. Give a roll of clear cellophane “scotch” tape to a child and undoubtedly you will see at least one new use for tape that you had not previously thought of. Almost any skilled trade has a particular type of tape common to that trade: Painters use masking tape, electricians use electrical tape, plumbers use Teflon tape, factories use non slip tape and so on. However, some types of tape are so useful that almost anyone would benefit from having them at hand. Duct Tape, so named because it was used to seal the seams in air duct components, was originally called “Duck Tape” due to either its resistance to moisture or the duck cloth from which it was made.
Double Sided Tape and Non Slip Applications
The amazing double sided tape was used during World War II by the military to seal ammunition cans from moisture, but it quickly found uses in repairing and mending various military hardware and vehicles. The versatile tape is a single side adhesive backed cloth tape that is strong, waterproof and easily torn by hand and is perhaps the most commonly innovated tape in the world.
Gaffer tape is also an adhesive backed cloth based tape that is very versatile. So named for the gaffer; also known as the Chief Lighting Technician; on a film crew, gaffer tape is used on the theatrical stage or film set to secure lighting and electrical cables on stage. However, due to its versatility gaffer tape is also used to make expedient on set repairs and to secure props when needed.
Gaffer is similar to duct tape but is stronger, easier to tear and more easily removed from whatever it is applied to. Another useful tape to keep on hand is reflective tape. Reflective tape was originally developed for use on roads and highways, to increase visibility of road markers and signs. Tiny glass beads or prisms are embedded in a metallic or reflective backing which acts similar to the metallic coating on the back of a mirror. Reflective tape can be adhesive backed for easy application to anything that needs to be more visible or it can be non adhesive backed, in which case it is sewn into clothing. For electrical applications, copper is particularly essential. Copper tape is made with strips of copper foil, and can be found in various standard widths and thicknesses, or it can be custom ordered to a specific width and thickness as needed. Because it is conductive, copper tape can be used to make expedient repairs on electrical devices and wiring.