Sunday Jan. 31, 2021’s Smile of the Day: Scotch Tape

On this Day:

In 1928, Scotch tape was first marketed by the 3-M Company.

Scotch Tape is a brand name used for pressure-sensitive tapes manufactured by 3M. Their magnetic recording tape products were also sold under the Scotch brand.

In 1930, Richard Drew, a 3M engineer, developed the first transparent sticky tape in St. Paul, Minnesota with material known as cellophane. Drew’s inspiration came from watching auto-engineers try to achieve smooth paintings on two-color cars. It was then that he created Scotch masking tape, and later evolved the product to be transparent. In 1932, John A. Borden, also a 3M engineer, built the tape dispenser. During the Great Depression, the versatility and durability of Scotch tape led to a surge in demand, as customers used it to mend household items like books, curtains, clothing, etc. It had industrial applications as well: Goodyear used it to tape the inner supportive ribs of dirigibles to prevent corrosion. 

Although it is a trademark and a brand name, Scotch tape is sometimes used as a generic term. The Scotch brand includes many different constructions (backings, adhesives, etc.) and colors of tape.

The use of the term Scotch in the name was a pejorative meaning “parsimonious” in the 1920s and 1930s. The brand name Scotch came about around 1925 while Richard Drew was testing his first masking tape to determine how much adhesive he needed to add. The body shop painter became frustrated with the sample masking tape and exclaimed, “Take this tape back to those Scotch bosses of yours and tell them to put more adhesive on it!” The name was soon applied to the entire line of 3M tapes.

Scotty McTape, a kilt-wearing cartoon boy, was the brand’s mascot for two decades, first appearing in 1944. The familiar tartan design, a take on the well-known Wallace tartan, was introduced in 1945.

The Scotch brand, Scotch Tape and Magic Tape are registered trademarks of 3M. Besides using Scotch as a prefix in its brand names (Scotchgard, Scotchlite, and Scotch-Brite), the company also used the Scotch name for its (mainly professional) audiovisual magnetic tape products, until the early 1990s when the tapes were branded solely with the 3M logo. In 1996, 3M exited the magnetic tape business, selling its assets to Quantegy (which is a spin-off of Ampex).

Magic Tape, also known as Magic Transparent Tape, is a brand within the Scotch Tape family of adhesive tapes made by 3M, sold in distinctive plaid packaging.

Invented and introduced in 1961, it is the original matte finish tape. It appears frosty on the roll, yet is invisible on paper. This quality makes it popular for gift-wrapping. Magic Tape can be written upon with pen, pencil, or marker; comes in permanent and removable varieties; and resists drying out and yellowing (per Wikipedia).

First, a Story:

I asked the fellow behind the counter: “May I have your finest scotch, please?”

“It’s just a roll of tape, sir,” replied the cashier at Staples.

Second, a Song:

Lynn Rene Anderson (September 26, 1947 – July 30, 2015) was an American country singer and television personality. She is most remembered for her signature recording crossover hit, “Rose Garden”. The song was a number one hit in the United States and internationally. Additionally, Anderson had four number one singles and 18 top ten hits on the Billboard country songs chart. She is regarded as one of country music’s most significant performers.

Raised in California, Anderson’s mother, Liz Anderson, was a country songwriter who also enjoyed a successful singing career in the 1960s and 1970s with 19 charting records in Billboard. Daughter Lynn was signed to a recording contract to Chart Records in 1966 when she was heard singing along with Liz at an industry function. Previously she had recorded some demo tapes of her mother’s songs and appeared on television in California on regional country music shows. In 1967, she had her first top ten hit with the single “If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)”. Soon after, Anderson joined the cast of The Lawrence Welk Show where she performed country music weekly to a national audience.

In 1970, Anderson signed with Columbia Records where she was produced by her husband, Glenn Sutton. That year, she had her biggest commercial success with “Rose Garden”. The song reached positions on the Billboard country, pop and adult contemporary charts. The song also became a hit in several countries and won her a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Throughout the decade, Anderson had a series of number ones “You’re My Man”, “How Can I Unlove You”, “Keep Me in Mind”, and “What a Man My Man Is”. She also became a television personality, with appearances on The Tonight Show, specials with Bob Hope and Dean Martin and her own prime-time specials.

After leaving Columbia and a brief hiatus, Anderson returned with the studio album Back. The album spawned three singles, including the top ten hit “You’re Welcome to Tonight”, with Gary Morris. Anderson continued recording sporadically throughout the 1980s. This included a revival of the pop hit “Under the Boardwalk” and the studio album What She Does Best (1988). Anderson continued releasing new albums into the new millennium, such as 2004’s The Bluegrass Sessions. Towards the end of her life, Anderson struggled with alcohol addiction, but continued performing until her death in 2015. For her work as a crossover artist, she was ranked on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Country Artists of All Time” and CMTs “40 Greatest Women of Country Music” (per Wikipedia).

Here is Lynn Anderson singing “Two Rolls of Scotch Tape” by Jo Gibson. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a video of the song.  I hope you enjoy this anyway!


Thought for the Day:

“I am very happy when people write that they have worn out my books, or that they are held together by Scotch tape. I consider that the ultimate compliment.” – Richard Scarry

Michael Goler of Cleveland, Ohio, USA, writes in response to the Jules Verne Smile:

“I remember watching the movie – lots of fun and a good book, too.

Thanx for providing something intelligent to read each day!!”


Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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