Adhesive Tape

Innovation Info
Inventor (s): 
Richard Drew
Country (invented in): 
Year Invented: 
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Many simple works,crafts, attaching, are dependent upon adhesives and glues made from kitchen works to the high level manufacturing of automobile and engineering products. Today, we do have different types of adhesives available to  us and have a variety of options dedicated particularly for  a specific work. For example, we have adhesive bandage for wounds and state of the art adhesive tapes have replaced traditional nuts and bolts in an aeroplane.


What were the earlier natural adhesive agents ?

Glues, gums and other different forms of adhesives were in use since ancient times. Adhesives can be explained as a material which holds the surfaces of two materials together. Some of the natural adhesives which have been commonly used since ancient times are resin, beeswax, bitumen and also glue which was made by Egyptian for woodworking from the bones and skins of animals. Egg white was used as a binding agent by the monks in the medieval times to hold gold leaf with the written illuminated manuscripts. Some other adhesives like pyroxylin cements and rubber were invented during the first half of nineteenth century.


When was adhesive tape patented?

But it was not until 1848 when an American, Henry Day patented adhesive tape for the first time. This invention was followed by adhesive bandage which was introduced by Paul Beiersdorf, a pharmacist from Germany in 1882. By the twentieth century the concept of adhesive tapes was fully developed with the advent of synthetic materials used for adhesion. Even today natural adhesives which are made from the plant and animal proteins, latex or starch, dextrin pastes resin, bitumen, natural rubber are used as adhesives. But the synthetic material or resin which is made from thermoplastic or thermosetting is used more widely. Thermoplastic is a process in which synthetic resin is heated for softening whereas in thermosetting it is heated to harden.


What is scotch tape? Who invented it?

Scotch tape is one of the widely used adhesive tape. It was invented by Richard Drew who belonged to Minnesota Mining Manufacturing Company (3M). During those times, the automobiles were painted in two tones or colors and were immensely popular amongst the youngsters. Gummed tape was used by the painters to bring out the contrast between two different tones. But when the tape was removed many times some part of the paint came out with it. Drew was a lab researcher and he took this problem as a challenge and went on to invent a masking adhesive tape (1920) which was pressure sensitive and did not damaged the paint. But at the start adhesives were used only at the corners of these adhesive tapes due to which it fell off when the car painters pasted it. The name ‘Scotch tape’ was given by these car painters.


What is Magic Tape?

In 1924, Du Pont invented cellophane and an adhesive coat was invented by Drew for it in 1930. This transparent adhesive tape was also pressure sensitive and was known as Scotch tape. Some times later when the dispensers were invented for adhesive tapes Scotch tapes become hugely popular. By 1960 Magic tapes, a form of adhesive tapes which did not fade or break with growing years and on which things can be written were launched. During the 1980s arrived restickable, transparent and removable adhesive tapes were introduced.


What are the uses of different adhesive tapes?

  • Adhesive tapes specially made for surgical use are called surgical tapes and are used by surgeons to seal the wound formed while incision or during surgery
  • Electrical adhesive tapes are used for sealing off wire ends or for repairing the frayed wires
  • Basting tapes are used by seamstresses for holding the seam or hem when they are preparing for fabric stitching


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