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Nugget of Knowledge: The history of Duct Tape


A defense plant worker in Illinois during World War II first thought of duct tape

(WYTV) – A defense plant worker in Illinois during World War II named Vesta Stoudt first thought of duct tape.

She was packing cartridges and thought that a stronger tape based on cloth would keep the packages waterproof and yet easy to open in battle.

Stoudt wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who read it and sent it to the War Production Board and told it, invent something like this.

A subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson did. The U.S. Army used it to mend windows, seal ammo crates and even as a type of temporary bandage.

It came in one color, military olive drab, and was known as “duck tape” because it was waterproof.

After the war, the tape became known for holding together pipes and heating or air conditioning ducts. So, it was marketed as “duct tape” and switched to silver for its color.

Helicopter crews in Vietnam used it to patch bullet holes in their rotor blades, so it became known there as 100 miles per hour tape or hurricane tape.

Just about every space mission has carried duct tape.

The crew of Apollo 13 used it to fashion a carbon dioxide filter and it helped save their lives.

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