What is duct tape and why is it so strong? And is it duct tape or duck tape? From Insider, go inside a busy factory to see how layers of rubber for adhesive, a cotton cloth middle, and a backing made from polyethylene, a plastic often derived from petroleum or natural gas, come together to create this water-resistant invention. Some World War II history:

A factory worker who was packaging ammunition sealed each box with tape and wax to make them waterproof. When the worker, Vesta Stout [or Stoudt], saw soldiers struggling to open the boxes, she came up with an idea to seal the boxes with a strong, cloth-based, waterproof tape. Stout wrote a letter to [Franklin D. Roosevelt] about her solution and a few weeks later, received word from the War Production Board that Johnson and Johnson would be manufacturing the tape. The tape became a military sensation. It was durable and easy to apply and remove by hand. After the war ended, duct tape turned up in hardware stores ready to help Americans with household repairs, too. It quickly became a useful tool for wrapping air ducts, which led to its other name, duct tape.

Related reading: The Woman Who Invented Duct Tape.

Next: How to make a DIY Duct Tape Coin Pouch, crawling through suspended tunnels of translucent tape, and Which is stronger: Glue or tape?

Bonus solution: Water-soluble fruit stickers.

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