Groundbreaking Inventions of the 20th Century

Man, moment and technology come together, now and then, to create a pivotal event in history. We are witnessing such an event today. The average man is the man, the moment is now, the technology is duct tape.

According to;

“Adhesive tape (specifically masking tape) was invented in the 1920’s by Richard Drew of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, Co. (3M). Duct tape (the WWII military version) was first created and manufactured in 1942 (approximate date) by the Johnson and Johnson Permacel Division. Its closest predecessor was medical tape. The original use was to keep moisture out of the ammunition cases. Because it was waterproof, people referred to the tape as “Duck Tape.” Also, the tape was made using cotton duck – similar to what was used in their cloth medical tapes. Military personnel quickly discovered that the tape was very versatile and used it to fix their guns, jeeps, aircraft, etc. After the war, the tape was used in the booming housing industry to connect heating and air conditioning duct work together.
Soon, the color was changed from Army green to silver to match the ductwork and people started to refer to duck tape as “Duct Tape.” Things changed during the 1970s, when the partners at Manco, Inc. placed rolls of duct tape in shrink wrap, making it easier for retailers to stack the sticky rolls. Different grades and colors of duct tape weren’t far behind. Soon, duct tape became the most versatile tool in the household.”

In my own home I am constantly dazzled by the breath of uses for duct tape. In just the last week I’ve used duct tape to patch a knee in my jeans, fix a cell phone, repair a hinge for my glove compartment, and to repair a chair. Duct tape is light, flexible, strong as steel and sticky as hell. If it were more waterproof, bulletproof and heat resistant we could build homes and cars out of the stuff (someday maybe huh?). Once just a dream, today duct tape has spread throughout the world providing a quick fix for many of our most pesky problems. With all the problems the world does have, I can tell you, there would be a hell lot more of them if we didn’t have duct tape. But, like “The Force”, duct tape has a dark side and can be used for evil. God knows, history might have turned out differently if the Soviets had a cheap and reliable source of duck tape. Imagine what would have happened in World War II if the Nazis had discovered duct tape first. Well, all that is behind us now, but there is still danger ahead. The Chinese have unleashed some of their most powerful minds to improve duct tape. What will happen to the United States if we drop a generation behind the Chinese in duct tape development. I dare say, it would be the end for our superpower status.

Now, I have been criticized for having a myopic view of the world, at times, and it has been suggested that I need to broaden my perspectives but I think most people would agree with me on this topic. I have noticed that there is no international or national duct tape day, which I think is a real shame. I have also noticed that there are people who do nothing but make their living off of duct tape. No, I’m not referring to the duct tape manufacturers, I am referring to “The Duct Tape Guys” ( who are available to discuss duct tape for “$3900 per day, plus expenses for home show and consumer show events”. I have been assured that they are worth every penny and when there are questions to be answered about duct tape “The Duct Tape Guys” are the first to be interviewed. There is an immense body of literature about duct tape and has called duct tape “The Other Greatest Tool Ever”!

According to in March 2006;

This Tape Can Save Your Life

” The versatility of the product means it has taken a few star turns. Most memorable: Astronauts on Apollo 13 used duct tape to help put together air scrubbers to keep themselves alive. And in February 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advised Americans to stock up on duct tape and plastic sheeting so that they could seal their homes in the event of a chemical or biological attack. Hardware stores around the country reported a run on the product. Critics said the advice was silly, and after days of being mocked on talk shows and around water coolers, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge withdrew the advice. “

A man lost in the wilderness needed to sleep but didn’t want to be disturbed by predators so he climbed a tree and duct taped himself to it so that he wouldn’t fall off. You can cure warts with duct tape, it can be used as a temporary suture and finally, duct tape can be used on a sucking chest wound. Just a word of caution however it has been determined by scientific experimentation that duct tape does not work well to repair ducts. Ironic, isn’t it?