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Thursday, November 10, 2005 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

How did they come up with the name for duct tape?

What is it about duct tape that makes some people absolutely fetishistic? Okay, don't answer that. The duct tape-centric sites I visited all treat this three-layered adhesive panacea as the greatest invention since...since...Scotch tape. I even read that the Apollo 13 astronauts used it to jury-rig a lifesaving carbon dioxide filter. Other uses include hemming a pair of dress pants, sealing a hole in a
shoe, and constructing a Frisbee (100% duct tape, of course). Not long ago, The USA Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge was ridiculed for suggesting the use of duct tape during a terrorist attack. We can't imagine why.

Duct tape was originally manufactured for the U.S. military during World War II by the Johnson & Johnson Permacel division, to prevent water from seeping into ammunition boxes. Because "water rolled off it like a duck" (it was waterproof) and because it was made using "cotton duck" (similar to the material in cloth medical tapes), the new invention was originally called "duck tape." In the booming postwar
era, its versatility made it a standard component of any handyman's toolkit; however, its most high-profile use was connecting heating and air conditioning ducts. Thus, "duck tape" became "duct tape." Ironically, the tape is now considered ineffective for ductwork and banned by most building codes.

But the "duck tape" moniker still lives on as a registered trademark of the Duck(r) brand company. So if you love duck tape, join the club.

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