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Arts & Culture

Is Scotch Tape Scottish?

January 31, 2013 | by

scotch-boy-418x600Although it is hotly debated, some claim that on this day, in 1930, Scotch Tape was born. But what, you might ask, is particularly Caledonian about pressure-adhesive transparent tape? As explains it, it was rooted in old-fashioned racism!

The brand name Scotch came about while Richard 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.

Indeed, the brand so embraced the notion of being cheapskates that until 1944 their mascot was one Scotty McTape, a kilted boy with an enthusiasm for tape. And in case you were wondering to which clan the tape belongs, it appears to be unaffiliated.



  1. Eamon | January 31, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Sadie – I think you mean Caledonian, not Hibernian. Hibernia(land of winter), is the name the Romans gave to Ireland.

  2. Justin Alvarez | January 31, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Hi Eamon, Thank you for pointing this error out!

  3. C. Walsh | February 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    The link at the end of this article is not to the tartan on the Scotch tape label. Check again. It’s the Wallace tartan.

  4. c farris | February 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    since being Scottish does not but you in a distinctive race, different from the Irish or the American businessmen who coined the phrase, then bigotry or stereotyping against Scots is not an example of racism.

  5. J D. C | February 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Being scottish DOES put you in a distinctive race. Irish, Welsh, Scottish peoples all belong, more or less to the same race and group. They are celtic peoples and are a distinct ethnic group, althought they may not be distinctly visible in day to day life, they ARE a distinct race. So bigot’d comments towards them IS racist.

  6. h. f. wallace | January 5, 2015 at 4:56 pm


  7. Alley Murphy | April 27, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Backpacking also known as ‘scotting’.
    Scotch Tape is a great way to preserve
    labels on bottles that would otherwise be
    rubbed off after several wettings.

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