Friday, September 8, 2017

One of the worst enemies books every had was loosed today.

From The Writer's Almanac:

On this day in 1930, St. Paul, Minnesota, manufacturing company 3M began marketing Scotch tape. It was waterproof, transparent, and pressure-sensitive. An employee named Richard Drew had figured out how to coat strips of cellophane with adhesive. It was first called “Cellophane Tape,” but legend has it that “Scotch” came into play during the trial run, when the tape popped off a St. Paul car dealer’s automobile and he barked at Drew, "Take this tape back to those Scotch bosses of yours and tell them to put more adhesive on it!" At the time, people used “Scotch” as an adjective for “cheap.” The tape had adhesive only on the borders, not the middle, so Drew fixed this, and soon enough, it was being used regularly by bakers, grocers, and meatpackers. Sales skyrocketed during the Depression when people realized they could use the tape to repair items rather than replacing them.

In later years, 3M introduced the “snail dispenser,” which is still in use today, and a kilt-wearing mascot named “Scotty McTape.” Scotch tape became so ubiquitous that Saturday Night Live parodied the product in the 1970s with skit about a store that only sold varieties of Scotch tape.

Scotch tape’s triboluminescent radiation is strong enough to leave an X-ray image of a finger on photographic paper. Enough tape is sold annually to circle the globe 165 times.

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