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The History of Masking Tape

In the 1920s, prosperity and production changes made automobiles more affordable for the average American. And along with the ability to purchase an automobile came the desire to make one’s car stand out with custom pinstripes. However, it was difficult for paint shop workers to perfect the pinstripe because the tapes available at the time often caused issues, either coming off too soon or sticking too firmly and ruining the paint job. Richard Drew, a 3M employee, was on a sales call with an auto shop when he heard a worker swearing; subpar tape had ruined the man’s paint job. Drew promised he would create a solution. And after two years of experimentation, he did! In 1925, Drew successfully created Scotch Brand Masking Tape, which adhered strongly but came off easily so as not to ruin a worker's paint job. Drew's masking tape was quickly adopted and remains a staple tool in many industries today.

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