“Did some of the Victorian-time people use duct tape?”

Peter Rabbit, modeling the Best Necklace Ever.

After presenting me with a Victorian necklace crafted of the finest rainbow-splattered duct tape and yellow construction paper, The Five-Year-Old was naturally concerned about the authenticity of her work.

“Mommyo, did the Victorian-time people use duct tape?”

I didn’t know off-hand when duct tape was invented, but I was pretty sure that it happened well after Queen Victoria had bid this world a graceful adieu.

Sure enough, according to IdeaFinder, duct tape was invented by the Permacel Division of Johnson & Johnson in 1942. Its first use was a military application — waterproofing ammunition cases. It wasn’t long, however, before resourceful soldiers found all kinds of other uses for this versatile tape. Soldiers used their Army green “duck tape” to repair everything from guns to aircraft.

After the war, the housing contractors got wind of this miraculous stuff and immediately put it to work connecting heating and air conditioning ducts. Once the manufacturers changed their product’s name to duct tape and its color from Army Green to silver (to match the ducts), it was only a matter of time before home-owners got into the act, using the stuff for everything from inappropriate plumbing repairs to homemade wallets and did I mention jewelry?

The Five-Year-Old, sternly: “Mommyo, you have to have your necklace checked once a month for rips. Let me know if it breaks and I’ll tape it.”

Mommyo: “Thank you. It’s perfect with pjs.”

The Five-Year-Old, enthusiastically: “Oh, Mommyo, you can wear it anytime. Even outside!”

About Shala Howell

I write about wildly curious kids, rabbits who hunt dragons, and 1880s Boston. When I’m not scratching my head over pesky characters who refuse to do things how I want them done or dreaming of my next book (which will of course be much easier to write than the current one), I blog about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, muse about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, or tweet about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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3 Responses to “Did some of the Victorian-time people use duct tape?”

  1. jkstamy08 says:

    That’s pretty funny, I love how duct tape is now in a million different colors! 🙂


  2. William says:

    I think that during the Victorian Era they called it “Ventilatative Adhesive Mitigator” or something long winded like that. It was very important first aid treatment whenever any of Queen Victoria’s pet ducks were in need of medical attention.


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