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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

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 19 commentsJay Markanich • January 27 2017 10:01AM

Comments

I have used it for lots of stuff, I like that silver stuff too.

Posted by Peter Mohylsky, Your Bucket List Broker along 30a (BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS REAL ESTATE) over 1 year ago

So have I, Peter!  And the new colors are out there!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

I firmly believe that duct tape is man's best friend over a dog when it comes to the home.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) over 1 year ago

Well, Harry, the tape plays dead pretty well, sits when asked, and doesn't poop or vomit in the house.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Good morning Jay Markanich ,

The latest craze is to use duct tape for a bikini! Ouch!! Think of removing those strips!!

Posted by Dorie Dillard, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) over 1 year ago

Good Morning Jay Markanich 

Duct tape is a good thing to have around. Never knew J&J was the one to introduce it. I just saw a commercial for a product called FiberFix. Ever hear of that?

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) over 1 year ago

Good morning Jay. Have a roll of both, just in case! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker (Wayne M Martin) over 1 year ago

Good morning Jay. Aluminum tape sounds great. Thank you for the reference.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 1 year ago

I have to scratch my head to think of what may have been the inspiration for this post.  This always a good place to learn

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 1 year ago

OK, you got me again.  I was walking around my unfinished basement last night with my aluminum tape checking for leaks in the duct work.  As if the honey-do list my wife gives me isn't long enough.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 1 year ago

Dorie - my son once made a wallet out of duct tape.  It lasted for years!

Doug - I have a couple of rolls in my house!  And I will look up the FiberFix product!

As do I, Wayne.  We are probably not a small club.

Sheila - it is truly a good product and works as advertised.  That fix I did was really 19 years ago.

Gee, Ed.  Promised yesterday, delivered today!  Actually it was already on my mind because of the question I got from Ginny.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Jay you may be right but I will believe the legend versus the fact sometimes.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 1 year ago

The legend that "duct tape" works on everything and anything, Joe?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

This post brings tears....my Dad LOVED it....and while an engeneer who did invent a lot of equipment...he was never far from a roll of this magic stuff !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) over 1 year ago

I agree, S&D, magical stuff, but not always the best for long-term sorts of things.

That fence repair, though, is truly magic.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Good one! It truly is a universal tool. So now you gotta write one on bailing wire!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 1 year ago

I'll look it up, Fred.  Or maybe talk to the bail bondsman who lives in my neighborhood!  I'll see if he has any, um, bail - ing wire...  badda boom!

You should see his car, it's a colorful, rolling ad!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

I missed this the first time around, but saw you mentioned it in a different post this morning. I had no idea that both duck and duct tape are historically correct names for the tape. It's definitely used everywhere for all sorts of repairs, but it's good to know it really should just be used temporarily.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) about 1 year ago

Once, temporarily, I used it to repair a cracked fence so the dog wouldn't get out, Kat!  It worked!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 1 year ago

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