DUCK OR DUCT TAPE? – Homeowner Rx

Last month I gave you the history of WD-40, so I figured this month it was time for a little history on the other staple in everybody’s toolbox, duct tape!

During WWII, a lady that worked in an ordinance factory, Vesta Stoudt, mother of 2 Navy sailors, noticed that the tape they were sealing ammunition boxes with was not waterproof and would not easily tear off, thus slowing down the quick access needed to get to the ammunition. She even wrote a letter to president Franklin D. Roosevelt, detailing her idea of a cloth-based waterproof tape. Johnson & Johnson was eventually given the task, and a thin cotton duck material coated in waterproof plastic with a rubber based adhesive on the bottom was born!

During the war it only came in an olive drab color and quickly spread as the go to product to repair anything from vehicles to weapons. Did the name come from the cotton duck layer of material in the middle? Was it called duck tape because it shed moisture like “water off a duck’s back?” Or did it get the name because of its needed use on the military’s amphibious military vehicle DUKW, which was pronounced “duck.” It’s not quite clear which version is correct, but the legend of duck tape had begun.

After the war, the housing market was booming. And duck tape found a home taping joints in heating and air conditioning ducts. Its color and name was changed to match the duct work it was used on. But it was soon discovered to fail new building code requirements, and duct tape faded away.  In the 70’s, a company by the name of Manco, purchased the rights to the product with the plan to market it to homeowners. They decided that the original name, duck tape, was more marketable and the trademark name, “Duck Tape” became official. This time the name stuck, it now comes in 100’s of colors and designs, and I’ll swear, with as much as we sell, there must be a roll in every garage in Waynedale!

Duck Tape fun facts:

  • Duck tape was used to create a fix for the failing Apollo 13’s carbon dioxide filters.
  • NASA also used duck tape during the Apollo 17 mission to repair a damaged fender on the lunar rover.
  • People make billfolds out of duck tape and even his and her prom outfits!
  • It can get rid of warts and is a star on the TV show The Red Green Show.
  • And last but not least, every year in Avon, Ohio, they host an annual duck tape festival that features sculptures, a fashion show, and a parade of floats made of duck tape!
  • So if you want it to move: WD-40. You want it to not move: Duck Tape! Works in my garage!

Dave is the owner of Umber’s Do it Best, which has been a family owned and operated since 1944. Whatever your project needs are, we can help. Stop in today at 2413 Lwr. Huntington Rd. Ft. Wayne, In 46809. Call (260) 747-3866.

Dave Umber
Dave Umber

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