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The Term "Duct Tape" Is A Misnomer

The term duct tape is a misnomer.

But how can that be?  Duct tape has been around forever!

I have a wonderful book in my library called, Did Monkeys Invent the Monkey Wrench?

It is a fun history book of tools and hardware information.  In my version, copyright 1999, on page 171, there is a brief history of duct tape.

It was invented by Johnson & Johnson in 1930 (... Remember Band Aids?  That's J&J too ...)  as a white, cloth tape for use in hospitals.  It was called Drybak.

During World War II it took on its modern gray color, and more waterproof shiny side.  They began using it to seal metal ammo boxes against water intrusion, and even used it to plug the bullet holes that happened in the ducks (amphibious personnel carriers) used to storm the beaches at Normandy on D Day.  The tape took on the name "Duck Tape."

Sometime in the 60s, when air conditioning got so popular, contractors began using it to seal AC duct work, and the name morphed into the more ubiquitous "Duct Tape."

So that term is certainly a misnomer!

But now, as we know, duct tape is used to "repair" everything from TVs, to electric connections, to, well, back yard fences!  As a home inspector I see it everywhere!  Of course, over time "duct tape" begins to fall apart and the stick'em comes loose, and it is no longer a good seal for duct work.

Much better for sealing the gaps in duct work, and more permanent, would be the aluminum tape such as I used to seal the duct work in my house.  It lasts and lasts and lasts.  That repair was 19 years ago.

And now it can be purchased in a variety of colors.  Since it can be used for everything, why not color coordinate?  That comes in very handy for auto repair!

My recommendation:  for short term repairs duct tape can be a miracle.  But don't count on it forever!  Overall it is a fabulous product and its "uses" are endless!  And obviously it's good, too, for mending fences between neighbors.  And taping ducks ... when they quack up.





Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 19 commentsJay Markanich • January 27 2017 10:01AM
The Term "Duct Tape" Is A Misnomer
The term duct tape is a misnomer. But how can that be? Duct tape has been around forever! I have a wonderful book in my library called, Did Monkeys Invent the Monkey Wrench? It is a fun history book of tools and hardware information. In my version… more
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