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Scotch: a little tape goes a long way

Scotch: a little tape goes a long way
Scotch: a little tape goes a long way

In the 1920s, American cars were two-toned: to create this effect, coachbuilders would use newspaper to separate the colours. However, taking off the newspaper sometimes tore away the paint and ruined their work. In 1925, Dick Crew, a laboratory assistant at 3M in Minnesota, developed a clear, versatile adhesive tape that would solve their problems: cellulose adhesive tape was born. 

To make laying and removing the adhesive tape easier, 3M provided coachbuilders with a relatively wide tape with adhesive on the edges. The workers believed that 3M was skimping on adhesive, and finding it quite a paltry saving, took to calling it "scotch tape", because the Scots had a reputation for being stingy.
Scotch is now a registered trademark known around the world, and the word has since passed into common parlance. It was first sold in 1930, and the Scotch tape dispenser with a tearing mechanism, also invented by a 3M employee, John A. Borden, was first sold in 1932.
Over 85 years, since its invention, Scotch tape is still being used: transparent, coloured, double-sided … it can be found in homes, offices and schools the world over. If any proof was needed: around 8,850,000 km of tape are produced every year, which is 220 times the circumference of the world!


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