It’s in every handyman’s toolbox, every family’s kitchen drawer, just about every hiker’s backpack and these days, it’s an inspiration to crafters nationwide. It’s duct tape. And it’s indispensible.
Originally nicknamed “duck” tape for its water- repelling power, this tough, easy-to-rip sticky stuff, originally drab olive green in color, was first developed by the Johnson & Johnson company during World War II for American soldiers to keep their ammunition kits dry.
Post-war, civilians adapted the versatile product, soon manufactured in its more familiar silver hue, for around-the-house duties such as piecing together and patching heat and air-conditioning ducts—hence the later “duct tape” name. Duct tape is now available in dozens of patterns and colors and has also claimed fame as a trendy art and fashion material.
Duck or Duct?
Duct tape, made and marketed by several companies, is the official name of the extremely strong tape made of durable plastic, fabric mesh and rubber-based adhesive. “Duck” tape is its longtime nickname, as well as the moniker of the popular Duck Tape brand manufactured by ShurTech in Cleveland, Ohio.
Through the Years
-According to the World War II-era 1945 Johnson & Johnson Annual Report, “Hundreds of thousands of miles of special waterproof tapes were used on tanks, planes and ammunition destined for overseas.”
-Duct tape has been carried aboard every NASA space mission since 1965.
-In a celebrated 2012 episode of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters, hosts Adam Savage and Jaime Hyneman are dropped on a deserted island armed with nothing but a pallet of duct tape. In a previous episode, they built a duct tape rope bridge and demonstrated it could hold up to 67.3 pounds.
Calling All Dads!
The 11th annual Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival June 13-15, 2014, Avon, Ohio
This annual Father’s Day weekend celebration attracts thousands to the Duct Tape Capital of the World. Events include a Duck Tape Parade featuring massive floats made of duct tape and pageant queens decked out in glittery duct tape gowns. Other attractions: duct tape sculptures up to 15 feet tall, past winners of Duck brand’s “Stuckon Prom” Contest and duct-tape fashioned gownsfeatured on TV’s Project Runway.