AVON, Ohio - When U.S. soldiers slogged through the water and mud of World War II, it was Duck Tape that was wrapped around the ammunition cases that kept the moisture out. The tape was so good, troops peeled off the tape and used it to repair everything from boots to Jeeps.
Duck Tape has come a long way. The sticky tape made by Shurtech Brands of Avon, Ohio, rolls into the plant by the ton. When workers cut it, it will be into packages easily manageable by home do-it-yourselfers who are intent on mending couches that have been chewed by the family dog, or pipes that have sprung leaks, or almost anything else that needs the touch of a Mr. fix-it.
Shurtech makes enough Duck Tape, originally called duct tape when it was used mostly to seal the seams of heating and air conditioning ductwork, to stretch from the Earth to the moon twice. The company, which manufacturers duct tape in North Carolina, ships huge rolls of it to Avon where it goes through another process before it is placed on store shelves.
"It has saved people's family vacations and saved their cars," said Scott Sommers, marketing director of Shurtech. In 1970, when the Apollo 13 astronauts heard an explosion on their space capsule as they were bound for the moon, they reached for rolls of Duck Tape, which they had in their tool kits. Using the tape, the astronauts fabricated systems which saved their lives so they could limp home safely.
Duck Tape has helped millions of people mend problems of the world. At that moment, the product solved problems halfway between the Earth and the moon.
From his office in Avon, he sees Duck Tape in its many designs roll in and roll out. The tape has become so popular among craftsmen, the company makes rolls of it in dozens of designs and patterns. Every year, it sponsors a Duck Tape festival where craftsmen show off all kinds of items made from the product, including clothes.
Often, there are teenagers who attend their high school proms wearing tuxedoes and evening dresses made entirely of Duck Tape.
"I have an 11- and a 13-year-old at home and my girls make Duck Tape everything," said Sommers, sporting a proud father's smile. "They make everything from purses to beach balls to flip flops."
Throughout the Avon plant, rolls of Duck Tape in a myriad of colors are rolling along conveyor belts. Each roll is packaged and labeled and bound for stores. The company knows in tens of millions of homes throughout the world, there can be found the product. Each roll is waiting for something to break, as its makers are Duck Tape can be used to fix the problem.
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