3M invented vinyl electrial tape and sets the industry standard for quality with a tape for nearly every electrical application.
In the early 1940s, vinyl plastic emerged as a highly versatile material for a wide range of applications, from shower curtains to cable insulation. Making it work for tape, however, was a different story. A major ingredient in vinyl film was tricresyl phosphate (TCP), which was used as a plasticizer. Unfortunately, TCP tended to migrate, giving the surface of the vinyl film an oily quality and degrading every tape adhesive known. Research chemists and engineers at 3M set out to create a dependable, pressure-sensitive tape made of vinyl film that would have the required electrical, physical and chemical properties. Experiments were conducted combining new plasticizers with the white, flour-like vinyl resin. Finally, in January 1946, inventors Snell, Oace, and Eastwood of 3M applied for a patent for a vinyl electrical tape with a plasticizer system and non-sulfur-based rubber adhesive that were compatible. The first commercially available version of the tape was sold for use as a wire