The History of Gaffers Tape

The history of gaffers tape is thought to go back to World War Two.

Tape originally developed by healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson for medical use was found to have lots of other uses in the field.

Soldiers found that it was particularly useful for creating waterproof seals, particularly for storing and transporting ammunition. The combination of a tape that would reject moisture but remove cleanly made it useful for repairs, binding and bundling.

The invention of gaffers tape is closely associated with the invention of duct tape, and in many accounts the history of these similar products are mixed together.

Some point to a Illinois woman, Vesta Stoudt, who was working in an ammunition plant with suggesting a cloth tape product that would replace a process that combined paper tape with wax for creating a necessary waterproof seal. She is actually thought to have written a letter to Pres. Franklin Roosevelt suggesting the new way for sealing the ammunition cartons.

Ms. Stoudt's letter eventually made its way to the War Production Board who then worked with Johnson & Johnson to develop the tape.

Johnson & Johnson's product came to be known as "duck" tape because of its ability to shed water and reject water, leading to the ongoing confusion between gaffers tape and duct tape.

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