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Tape Innovation Timeline

Our most well-known product — tape — was the first of many Scotch® Brand innovations. For over 75 years‚ we’ve continued to create great ideas that stick. Follow the Scotch® Brand journey‚ to see where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

1930

Richard Drew‚ a young 3M engineer‚ invents Scotch® Cellulose Tape. Later to be renamed Cellophane Tape‚ it is an attractive‚ moisture-proof way for grocers and bakers to seal packages. The tape helps people “make do” during the Great Depression — they made simple repairs to household items.

Scotch Cellulose Tape

1932

Scotch® Brand introduces the first heavy-duty‚ countertop tape dispenser. It’s made from cast iron and weighs almost 7 pounds.

Scotch Brand Snail Dispenser

1939

Scotch® Brand welcomes the “snail” — its iconic‚ handheld tape dispenser. The first version is made from stamped sheet metal‚ and a molded plastic model is added one year later.

1941-1945

During World War II‚ almost all tape production is diverted to the war effort. 3M develops and manufactures more that 100 different types of tape to help solve war production problems such as sealing‚ identifying parts‚ holding materials‚ protecting and insulating. Scotch® Double-Sided Tape‚ coated with adhesive on both sides‚ joins the transparent tape family during this time.

1945

The famous plaid design is introduced. The war now over‚ Scotch® Brand focuses on distributing the clad-in-plaid tape to homes‚ schools and businesses.

1950s

Scotty McTape debuts in TV commercials. By 1955‚ 67% of American households have television sets‚ and Scotch® Cellophane Tape is a major advertiser on the new medium. Scotty McTape serves as the brand mascot for over two decades.

Scotch Cellulose Tape

1961

3M invents Scotch® Magic™ Tape. The innovative matte-finish tape is virtually invisible on light-colored paper and envelopes. Unlike glossy tapes‚ it can be written on with pen‚ pencil or marker. At about the same time‚ Scotch® Cellophane Tape is renamed Transparent Tape.

Saturday Night Live Scotch® Boutique

1978

Saturday Night Live pokes fun. In the sketch “Scotch® Boutique‚” the owners of a trendy new store sell nothing but Scotch® Tape.

1984

Scotch® Removable Tape joins the Transparent Tape family. This new product features a unique adhesive that holds paper securely‚ yet is easy to remove or reposition. Later‚ in 1996‚ a removable double-sided tape will be launched.

1985

Consumers vote Scotch® Brand Tape the most indispensable household product. In a national Roper opinion poll‚ 46% of respondents say they’re stuck on Scotch® Transparent Tape. Other top products include no-iron fabrics‚ aluminum foil‚ pantyhose and T-shirts. Home computers come in last — only 2% say they couldn't do without one.

Scotch Tape voted most indispensable household product
Scotch Pop-up Tape Dispenser

1997

The Scotch® Pop-Up Tape Dispenser is introduced. Precut‚ 2-inch pieces of tape “pop up” from the dispenser‚ which can be worn on the wrist or hand. The invention adds speed and convenience to gift wrapping‚ crafting and school projects.

2004

Scotch® Transparent Tape is named a “Humble Masterpiece” by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibit features over a hundred simple items‚ including Scotch® Transparent Tape‚ that are used every day. “While modest in size and price‚” the curator says‚ “These objects are indispensable masterpieces of design deserving of our admiration.”

2005

Scotch® Brand celebrates 75 years of transparent tapes. The classic “snail” dispenser receives its first major makeover in 60 years. The new Contour Dispenser is sleek‚ stylish and comes a variety of shades.

Scotch 75th Aniversary

2008

Scotch® Brand stays on the cutting edge for crafters. Making beautiful scrapbooks is easy with new Scotch® Brand innovations like Tape Runner and Vellum Tape.

Want to learn more about Scotch® Brand? Check out the multimedia downloads.

  • Fun Facts
  • The total amount of Scotch® Transparent Tape sold to homes and offices in the United States each year would go around the Earth 165 times.

    There are more than 400 varieties of tapes sold under the Scotch® and 3M™ brands.

    How Scotch® Transparent Tape is made
    1) Film backing is created
    2) Pressure-sensitive adhesive added to film
    3) Backing and adhesive combined into a jumbo roll of tape
    4) Roll cut into smaller rolls or strips

    The first use for Scotch® Transparent Tape was as a moisture-proof seal for cellophane wrap used by bakers‚ grocers and meat packers.

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