Considering all of the various inventions of man there is one that stands out as one of the most useful and versatile: adhesive tape. Simply a strip of material that is flat, flexible and coated with an adhesive or glue; tape is arguably essential to life on Earth as we now know it. Adhesive tape is used for everything from mending our torn or broken treasures to helping to keep our children safe while they ride their bicycles at night. There are many different types of tape and though each
type is designed for a specific purpose, regardless of what that purpose is the inherent versatility of adhesive tape allows it to be adapted to many more applications than that for which it was originally intended.
One of the most versatile and well known types of common sticky tape is duct tape, which is a polyethylene coated cloth tape that is strong and flexible, durable, and waterproof. Duct tape was originally developed during World War II to fill the need for a tape that could seal ammunition canisters and repair vehicles and equipment. The tape was given the nickname “Duck Tape” because of its waterproof qualities. Duct tape is now used for a variety of purposes that range from sealing the seams in duct work to the making of custom wallets and purses.
In the film and stage industry there is gaffer tape, which is similar to duct tape. The durable gaffers tape is an adhesive backed cloth tape that is strong, easy to tear by hand and easy to remove from the various surfaces it is applied to. The versatility of gaffer tape allows it to be used by film crews, stage hands, musicians and sound engineers for many different purposes. The tape is used to secure and bind lighting and electrical cables, to mark the floor of the set for actors, to label and secure stage equipment and to label sound boards for easy reference.
One type of tape that is particularly essential to an electrician is copper tape. Copper tape is a strip of copper metal foil with or without an adhesive on one side. The amazing copper foil tape is electrically conductive and thus it can be used to make or repair electronic components and devices. Copper tape is also used in arts and crafts to assemble leaded glass pieces before they are soldered together. Musicians will often use copper tape to electrically shield the coils and pickups on electric musical instruments.
Another useful tape is one that was originally developed to increase the visibility of the lines and markers on roads and highways. This reflective tape effectively and brightly reflects light, and it can be used to mark and increase the visibility of helmets, bicycles and automobiles, and articles of clothing. Reflective tape may be adhesive on one side so it can be cut and applied to smooth objects, to form letters or warning markers on signs, or it may be non adhesive and sewn directly into articles of clothing such as outer vests, jackets or even shoes.