“Scotch” used to be a synonym for “thrifty” or “frugal” and when cellphane tape was invented, it was marketed in the great depression as “scotch tape” since it could extend the life of objects and save you money.

How Did Scotch Tape Appear and What Is the Story Behind Its Name?

At present, we can state with certainty that everybody knows what scotch is. By the way, we are not going to speak about a famous Scottish drink, although some people might be disappointed. The topic of our article is adhesive tape, or, as they call it, scotch tape.

The story behind adhesive tape is quite intriguing, so let us start with the idea of its invention.

Who Invented Scotch Tape and How It Happened

In 1923, an American Richard Drew got appointed as a lab technician at Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, a small company producing sandpaper, later known as 3M corporation. Richard’s main responsibility was sandpaper. Just at that time, the company research department was experimenting with cellophane, aiming to create wat… Continue Reading (5 minute read)

13 thoughts on ““Scotch” used to be a synonym for “thrifty” or “frugal” and when cellphane tape was invented, it was marketed in the great depression as “scotch tape” since it could extend the life of objects and save you money.”

  1. Texas_Nexus

    So does that mean butterscotch is a fancy term for cheap buttery candy?

  2. bplurt

    In Australia, there was a brand of adhesive tape sold under the name ‘Durex’.


  3. greatgildersleeve

    MacTavish was out working the field when a barnstormer landed. “I’ll give you an airplane ride for £5,” said the pilot. “Sorry, cannae afford it,” replied MacTavish.

    “Tell you what,” said the pilot, “I’ll give you and your wife a free ride if you promise not to yell. Otherwise it’ll be £10.” So up they went and the pilot rolled, looped, stalled and did all he could to scare MacTavish. Nothing worked and the defeated pilot finally landed the plane. Turning around to the rear seat he said,

    “Gotta hand it to you. For country folk you sure are brave!” “Aye,” said MacTavish, “But ye nearly had me there when the wife fell oot!”

  4. ctmurray

    The actual story told at 3M (I worked there) was the first tape did not stick very well. A customer complained to the sales person to “quit being so Scottish” and put some more adhesive on the tape.

  5. robotmirrornine

    That is why Scrooge McDuck was given a Scottish name.

  6. scipio11111

    Many years ago Safeway’s store brand was “Scotch Buy” and came complete with a cheap Scottish caricature. You could get 12 frozen pot pies for a dollar. They were horrible, but we were poor.

  7. Haus42

    Also, copper wire was inadvertently invented when two Scotsmen found the same penny.

  8. J_P_Freely

    I enjoy a nice single malt frugal once in a while.

  9. ManifestDestinysChld

    Back in the 1950s the Studebaker car company took this to the next level with an entire range of no-frills vehicles called “The Scotsman.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studebaker\_Scotsman](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studebaker_Scotsman)

    (As an added bonus, the phrase “Studebaker Scotsman” is super-fun and satisyfing to yell in an angry faux Scottish accent.)

  10. H_Lunulata

    “used to be a synonym for …” is the softest, gentlest way of saying “used to be kind of a racist term based on the stereotype that Scots are cheap”

    My grandfather would cuss something in Gaelic and say “well, aye”.

    Nevertheless, it is and was kind of derogatory when used that way, and is fundamentally no different that “gyp”.

  11. BuhoBeppo

    I don’t remember where i have read it, but i knew that it was called “scotch” because the manufacturer was “frugal” and would not put enough glue on it so it didn’t stick

  12. Redacteur2

    Was it the same Scotchtape we have now? I can’t think of a use for it outside of sticking paper together.

  13. stateofyou

    The Scottish could peel an orange in their pockets

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