Humanities › History & Culture The History of Scotch Tape Scotch tape was invented by 3M engineer Richard Drew Share Flipboard Email Print Renold Zergat/ Stone/ Getty Images History & Culture Inventions Famous Inventions Famous Inventors Patents & Trademarks Invention Timelines Computers & The Internet American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Mary Bellis Inventions Expert Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell. our editorial process Mary Bellis Updated March 19, 2018 Scotch tape was invented in 1930 by banjo-playing 3M engineer Richard Drew. Scotch tape was the world's first transparent adhesive tape. Drew also invented the first masking tape in 1925—a 2-inch-wide tan paper tape with a pressure sensitive adhesive backing. Richard Drew - Background In 1923, Drew joined the 3M company located in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the time, 3M only made sandpaper. Drew was product testing 3M's Wetordry brand sandpaper at a local auto body shop, when he noticed that auto painters were having a hard time making clean dividing lines on two-color paint jobs. Richard Drew was inspired to invent the world's first masking tape in 1925, as a solution to the auto painters' dilemma. Brandname Scotch The brand name Scotch came about while Drew was testing his first masking tape to determine how much adhesive he needed to add. The body shop painter became frustrated with the sample masking tape and exclaimed, "Take this tape back to those Scotch bosses of yours and tell them to put more adhesive on it!" The name was soon applied to the entire line of 3M tapes. Scotch Brand Cellulose Tape was invented five years later. Made with a nearly invisible adhesive, the waterproof transparent tape was made from oils, resins, and rubber; and had a coated backing. According to 3M Drew, a young 3M engineer, invented the first waterproof, see-through, pressure-sensitive tape, thus supplying an attractive, moisture-proof way to seal food wrap for bakers, grocers, and meat packers. Drew sent a trial shipment of the new Scotch cellulose tape to a Chicago firm specializing in package printing for bakery products. The response was, "Put this product on the market!" Shortly after, heat sealing reduced the original use of the new tape. However, Americans in a depressed economy discovered they could use the tape to mend a wide variety of things like torn pages of books and documents, broken toys, ripped window shades, even dilapidated currency. Besides using Scotch as a prefix in its brand names (Scotchgard, Scotchlite and Scotch-Brite), the company also used the Scotch name for its (mainly professional) audiovisual magnetic tape products, until the early 1990s when the tapes were branded solely with the 3M logo. In 1996, 3M exited the magnetic tape business, selling its assets. John A Borden - Tape Dispenser John A Borden, another 3M engineer, invented the first tape dispenser with a built-in cutter blade in 1932. Scotch Brand Magic Transparent Tape was invented in 1961, an almost invisible tape that never discolored and could be written on. Scotty McTape Scotty McTape, a kilt-wearing cartoon boy, was the brand's mascot for two decades, first appearing in 1944. The familiar tartan design, a take on the well-known Wallace tartan, was introduced in 1945. Other Uses In 1953, Soviet scientists showed that triboluminescence caused by peeling a roll of an unidentified Scotch brand tape in a vacuum can produce X-rays. In 2008, American scientists performed an experiment that showed the rays can be strong enough to leave an X-ray image of a finger on photographic paper.