Scotch Cellulose Tape Tin Can

Pressure sensitive tape was pioneered by Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (later renamed 3M). In the early 1920s 3M engineer Richard Drew saw automotive painters struggling to mask out areas as they did two tone paint jobs. He told his bosses at 3M and was given permission to work on an adhesive tape that would hold well but release cleanly. The result was adhesive tape brought to market in 1925. Changing base film, Drew and 3M created cellulose tape in 1930, and later transparent tape. Prior to being sold in its iconic snail dispenser with serrated edge, tape was dispensed in a tin can.
The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company was founded in 1902 as a mining operation, but soon began to use its minerals to make sandpaper. 3M is known for its culture of innovation which encourages employees of disparate background to work together. The company manufactures a wide variety of products focusing on films and coatings. Products range from masking tape and reflective sheeting to synthetic fabrics and sticky notes.
date made
Physical Description
cream (overall color)
metal (overall material)
blue (overall color)
ID Number
maker number
5/0 95
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of 3M Company
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Work and Industry: Production and Manufacturing
Industry & Manufacturing
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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