Tale of the Tape: A Sticky History [Infographic]
How much thought have you given to the origin of adhesive tape? How about the diversity of that material and just how much modern technology relies on some kind of tape? As it turns out, the history of adhesive tape goes back further than most people realize and encompasses a huge range of applications. Let’s take a look at some of the noteworthy items stuck on tape’s timeline.
The earliest versions
Originally, tape wasn’t much more than strips of linen soaked in plaster – we can thank the ancient Egyptians for that first step. From there, various materials – mainly paper- or linen-based – made up the majority of early “tapes.” In essence, these were mere vehicles for some kind of adhesive substance.
It was the medical world that really honed in on developing specialized tape for a specific use. A piece of gauze in the center of an adhesive plaster formed what we now call the Band-Aid. Once tape’s medical potential started to grow, other industries joined in. The military commissioned the creation of waterproof tape – duct tape – while the invention of Cellophane led to Scotch tape.
Perhaps among tape’s greatest but less-celebrated purposes comes in the form of industrial applications. American Biltrite was an early industrial tape manufacturer and remains a leader in the industry, providing both permanent and removable products for a range of markets.
These days, tapes use some of the most high-tech, advanced materials we have, including metals and synthetic plastics. As for what the future holds for this resilient, adaptable industry, it’s difficult to know – but we can be sure it will be on the front of the technological curve.