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Who Invented The Duct Tape?

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The duct tape was invented in 1942. The US military needed a way to keep moisture out of ammunition casings and hired Johnson & Johnson Co. to solve this problem. The company’s division called Permacel discovered a way to create a special tape from cotton duck. This caused it to be called the duck tape. The cotton is then sandwiched by a rubber adhesive and a waterproof substance made from polyethylene. The resulting product was a complete success.

Duct tapeDuct tape. © Evan-Amos.

Used in World War 2

During World War II, the duct tape was used for more than just making moisture proof, ammunition casings. The soldiers eventually learned to use duct tape in repairing weapons such as handguns and rifles and military vehicles from jeeps to aircrafts. The invention’s popularity spread throughout the war and gain the moniker “Panzer tape”, derived from the most powerful tank during World War II, the Panzer tank.

Wheel fender extension made with duct tapeWheel fender extension made with duct tape,  Apollo 17. © NASA.

After World War 2

The end of the war did not mark the death of the duct tape. This time of peace lead to prosperity, which gave way to more construction works both in commercial and residential. With the development of centralized air conditioning and heaters, the duct tape found another job. Ducts for cold and hot air are installed and connected using Johnson & Johnson’s military tape. Due to this purpose, the “duck” tape became “duct” tape. To match the color of ducts the military green color was abandoned and silver and gray became the duct tape’s default colors. But the demand for this tape when farther into the finished buildings and homes.

It get popular, fast

Workers of the ducts eventually used the duct tape to repair all works in their homes. Their wives eventually shares their experiences with it and more and more people started using duct tapes for repairing toys, furniture and for fastening. This development leads to innovations in the duct tape creating versions for home usage as well. Smaller versions of the duct tape were introduced and variety of colors.

Related adhesive invention: Glue and Post-It Notes.