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Short Stories: Inventing Duct Tape

how was duct tape invented

Duct tape is an engineer’s best friend. Use the right tool for the job of course, but when the right tool isn’t there, duct tape is a great bet! People trust the tape to keep their car held together all the way to duct taping their shoes. But how was it invented?

Duct tape began as a WW2 invention by the United States. We needed a strong, waterproof solution to keep ammunition cases dry. J&J was able to modify medical tape and came up with a tape that was very strong but easily tearable. It was also waterproof so it reminded soldiers of a duck’s waxy feathers. That’s where the brand name comes from!

After the war, the tape had no plans of going away. The housing market boomed once the war was over and soldiers took construction jobs back at home. They eventually used the tape on heating & cooling ducts which enabled manufacturers to put silver on one side to match the ducts and then everyone started calling it duct tape! A solution EVERYONE is familiar with.


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