Did You Know?
- Scotch Tape

Scotch Tape

Ever wondered how the name "Scotch" got attached (excuse the pun) to what was originally called cellophane tape? The 3M Company trade magazines "The Office" (around 1975) had an article with the heading "The tale of the tape---50 years of innovation at 3M" in which they told the story of how Scotch tape was named. Here is what they said (forwarded to me by a Professor at the University of Utah).

In 1921 the 3M Company hired a Mr. Richard Drew as a lab technician and put him to work in improving their products. One day Drew watched a painter spraying a car on which he had used gummed Kraft paper to cover up details he didnąt want painted. However, when the painter attempted to remove the gummed paper, it stripped the paint away with it.

Drew promised the painter that heąd work on an adhesive which would leave a clean demarcation line. In time he produced a 2 inch wide masking tape with adhesive on each edge which he delivered to the auto painter. To quote the article:

While testing Mr. Drewąs first product. . . the painter watched it fall off as he was preparing to apply the second color of a two-tone car. The tape came loose because it was not fully coated with adhesive. It had only a 1/2" wide strip of adhesive along each edge, a money saving measure. The painter angrily told Mr. Drew, "Take this back to your stingy Scotch bosses and tell them to put more adhesive on it." This ethnic slur regarding Scottish thrift may have been unjustified, but it eventually got him the stickier tape he wanted. The name "Scotch" has "stuck" ever since.

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