D-U-C-T, Or D-U-C-K?
It’s spelled D-U-C-T, not D-U-C-K, right? Not so fast. As I was researching the origins of this ubiquitous and arguably the most useful product known to humanity, I stumbled upon the most interesting facts. One of which is that, indeed, the product now known as duct tape today started out as “Duck Tape” in World War II. Like some of the adhesives I wrote about last month, the military has been quite instrumental in many of the
technologies we use and depend on today (Yes, Al Gore, the military did have something to do with the creation of the ‘interwebs’).
In WWII, a waterproof tape that was strong, durable, and flexible was needed to seal ammunition cases. A division of Johnson and Johnson called Permacell came up with the concept of laminating a polycoat adhesive (very sticky) and a polyethylene coating (water resistant) to a cloth middle layer (easy to tear). Because it was waterproof, folks started to call it “Duck Tape.” Another story also says that the tape was made using cotton duck, much like what was used in medical tapes of the time. Military personnel quickly realized how versatile this new tape was and used it to fix everything from planes to jeeps to guns.
After the war, the civilian world put it to use during the housing boom to connect and seal heating and air conditioning ductwork. The color changed from Army green to silver and grey to match the metal of the ductwork, and people began referring to it as “duct tape.” If you have been to the hardware store or home center lately, you will see that you can now get “duct tape” in almost any color under the sun, as well as camo patterns and other prints, even tie-dye. The one I think is the most interesting so far is the clear duct tape, though purple is a close second.
People really get into this duct tape thing, making wallets, prom dresses, and myriad other interesting and wacky projects. There is a book that really pushes the boundaries called Duct Shui by Jim Berg and Tim Nyberg. East meets West meets Duct Tape. Riveting to be sure. Here is an example: “In Feng Shui, wind chimes and bird feeders stimulate the flow of chi (energy) in a yard. In Duct Shui, attract birds by duct taping plastic decoys to a birdbath.” A close second is Ductigami: The Art of the Tape by Joe Wilson. He shows you how to make 14 projects using ordinary duct tape including cell phone holders and rain gear for pets (which sounds a little suspicious to me).
Duct tape is one product that I think every home, vehicle, and camping tote should contain at least one roll of. The uses are astounding and ever expanding. For instance, were you aware that duct tape, when doubled over on itself, can pull a 2000 lb. car out of a ditch? Tell me that’s not amazing and handy. The uses are endless.
I would like to leave you with some words of wisdom from G. Weilacher: “One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop.” Ponder.
Until next month, stay safe, keep smiling and remember ‘Measure twice, cut once!”
With over 20 years’ experience in Home Maintenance and Repair, Remodeling, and Building Inspection, Kheli started the Handy Woman LLC to be ‘not just your average contracting company’, but to also teach people how to take care of their homes by offering do-it-yourself coaching and how-to classes. Along with typical home repair and maintenance services, her focus is to help our elders age-in-place and teach women homeowners how to understand and care for their homes.
For more information please call Kheli @ 303.999.5812 www.thehandywomanllc.com