75 Years of Working Together - 3M Scotch® Super 33+

14th Feb 2022

Celebrating 75 Years (and counting!) of Working Together: 3M's Scotch® Super 33+ Vinyl Electrical Tape has held it together for 75 years, stick with us as we unroll its history!

History of "Super 33+" Electrical Tape:
Scotch® Electrical Tape was patented in January 1946, 75 years ago, as "No. 33". It was originally available only in white or yellow colours. At the time, it was the solution for all electricians - saving them from weak, corrosive, and rot prone tape, made of tar coated cotton with a vulcanized rubber adhesive - and it became the new standard for insulating electrical connections.

Since its invention in 1966, the original name "No. 33" changed to "#33", then came the addition of "Super" - the tape became black for UV resistance, with a higher operating temperature of up to 176˚F (80˚C). Three years later the "+" was added, boosting the operating temperature to 221˚F (105˚C). In 1985 the "Super 33+" tape was improved again, with even greater elasticity, and it remains the market leader in strength & adhesion for electrical insulation. Over the years, the use of electrical tape has spanned a variety of industrial and everyday home applications, loved by both professionals and DIYers.

A 3M Tape Timeline:
What would you do if there was no vinyl electrical tape?

If you’re an electrician or a contractor, life without this sticky companion might sound like a nightmare. For those living just 100 short years ago, it was a reality - because electrical tape simply didn’t exist.

In fact, the vinyl electrical tape that we all know and love came into existence around 75 years ago, when 3M inventors Snell, Oace, and Eastwold created it. Their "reinvention" saved electricians from the situation mentioned above: having no option except weak, corrosive and rot-prone tape, made of tar-coated cotton with a vulcanized rubber adhesive.

1902 - Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. Opens for Business: Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. (now known as 3M) establishes itself as a mining operation; sandpaper is their first commercial product.

1925 - Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. Invents Masking Tape: Now that automobiles are more common, customers demand more color options. Masking part of a car with cloth surgical tape gives auto makers nothing but grief - but 3M's Richard Drew had an idea.

1940s - WWII Demands Make Innovation an Absolute Necessity: World War II spawns many, many innovations in the industrial world that include the invention of PVC (plasticized vinyl).

1944 - 3M Pioneer Chemist Esther Eastwold Makes a Key Development: One of the 3 scientists credited with the invention of Vinyl Electrical Tape, Esther paves the way with her discovery of an adhesive-friendly plasticizer.

1945/46 - 3M invents Scotch Brand No. 33 Electrical Tape: 3M applies for a patent in January 1946 and "No. 33" Tape becomes the new standard for insulating electrical connections.

1960 - Scotch Brand No. 33 is a Household Name: Ads appear in the Saturday Evening Post and Life magazine; this TV commercial colorfully illustrates just how handy 3M Plastic Vinyl Electrical Tape can be.

1966 - 3M Scotch Brand No. 33 Tape Becomes "Super": 3M introduces the new and improved electrical tape "Super 33". Now black for UV resistance, it has a new operating temperature rating up to 176˚F (80˚C).

1969 - 3M Vinyl Electrical Tape Makes the Grade with a PLUS: 3M Vinyl Electrical Tape takes another leap forward to 33 PLUS. It boasts a surprising upper operating temperature rating of 221˚F (105˚C). It would be a few years before "PLUS" changed to the "+" symbol we all recognise today!

1975 - Making Conforming a Good Thing: 3M launches the 1st highly conformable, all-weather Linerless Rubber Splicing Tape as Scotch® 130C… but don't forget to overwrap with 3M Vinyl Electrical Tape.

1976 - Continuous Improvement & Regal Family History: A look at the lineage of Scotch® Super 33+ Vinyl Electrical Tape provides insight into the previous 30 years of improvements. 30 years of packaging evolution has kept this tape trendy!

1985 - 3M improves on Vinyl Electrical Tape Yet Again: 3M sets the standard yet again with the new and improved "Super 33+" vinyl electrical tape that has even greater elasticity.

2016 - Happy 70th Birthday Vinyl Electrical Tape!: 3M celebrates the 70th anniversary of their invention of Vinyl Electrical Tape. Tape that transformed the electrical industry almost overnight is definitely worthy of a birthday party!

While we're talking about the Super 33+, don't forget its colourful cousins - 3M's Scotch 35 Vinyl Electrical Tape range.

Article derived from news posts published by 3M.