A linear, analog, magnetic storage medium commonly used to distribute music. It is also used to distribute data and software, although with decreasing frequency.

Tapes are more than one tape. Generally, when one refers to 'tapes', one means audio cassette tapes. These are media which are capable of storing analog audio information at a reasonably high quality. One might also refer to backup tapes, used to digitally store big chunks of data which usually come from computers--See tar. Tapes vary very widely in their reliability and quality; if you're doing backup tapes you should probably spring for the highest quality you can get. This won't be too expensive; computer tapes tend to be cheap. Tape drives, though, can be wicked expensive. Oh well.

Bookbinding - a material used to hold the individual signatures of the book block together and to hold the book block to the boards. Compare with cord and kettlestitch (where the kettlestitch is used as the entire support of the book block).

Webster gives a good start at tape, as it is used in bookbinding. Cotton and linen tapes are relatively popular among most bookbinders, as they are easy to work with and reasonably priced. Vellum is a sturdier, more flexible, more archival medium, but it is also more expensive and somewhat prone to tearing if the edges are not cut perfectly straight. Paper can also be used, though it tends to not be strong enough for most books of more than three or four signatures.

Tapes are strips of the materials noted above, generally between 1/4 and 1/2 in. wide, that each signature of a book is sewn on to. Tapes run perpendicular to the spine (so that they can pass every signature), and generally extend an inch or two on each side of the book block, so that they can be attached to the boards. Once the tapes are attached to the boards, the endpapers are pasted over them, to hold the tapes down and provide additonal rigidity.

At least three tapes are used (as three points determine a plane), to give the spine rigidity, and more are used on taller books.

Tapes are used virtually exclusively for binding by hand, as they are not suited to mechancial, commerical bookbinding - cords are far better suited to that purpose.

For an illustration of how tapes are used in bookbinding, see sewing on tapes.

For alternate methods of sewing the book block together, see cord and kettlestitch.

It always amazes me when I come across a node that doesn't have info on something so common and familiar. People can watch it pass by in New Writeups and exclaim, "What?! Are you sure that hasn't been done yet?" I assure you it has not. Many thanks to Tem42 and the Content Rescue Team for providing these little gems. And without further adieu, I give you: tape!

Tape, existing as strips of material coated in an adhesive, has a long history of convenience. Who would have thought that musicians could come up with something so useful? (Before you get pissed off by that statement, know that I am a musician). The earliest reference to tape is found in Thomas Mace's "Musick's Monument" published in 1676. Lute makers used 'little pieces of Paper, so big as a pence or two pences, wet with Glew' to hold the thin strips of wood in place during the construction of the instrument. Fast forward to 1845 when a US patent is taken out under Shecut and Day marking the beginning of 'pressure sensitive' tape. (Are we moving fast enough, covering two centuries in two sentences?) A pressure sensitive tape is any adhesive tape that will stick to a wide variety of clean dry surfaces with a minimum of pressure applied. It does not need to be activated by water, solvent or heat. It wasn't until the 1920's when tape began its industrial service and its astounding utility was secured.

Tape Material

The tape can be any of a wide range of thin flexible materials. Common materials include films, paper tissues, cloth or even metal foils. The choice of material used depends on what the tape is intended to do.



As the name explicates, Rubber/Resin is a combination of hard resin and rubbery materials from both natural and synthetic sources. Natural materials are extracted from trees while the always useful oil industry provides the synthetics. However, unless specially treated, it does not hold up very well to heat, exposure, or light.


Fully dumping the idea of natural sources, acrylics are completely synthetic polymers. They are more expensive than Rubber/Resin adhesives but hold up much better against the elements.


3M would be the company to first make tape a viable commercial product and they continue to dominate the tape market even today. The honor would fall to one Richard Drew, only one year out of engineering training at the University of Minnesota. In response to needs in the auto-painting and insulation industries, Drew conceived of masking and cellophane (later called 'Magic') tape respectively. This took all of about 4 of his first years working at 3M, starting as a lab assistant and ending up as the resident pressure-adhesives expert. A few years later John Borden, product sales manager, designed an efficient dispenser with a serrated knife and a metal strip to create the product that we all know and love as Scotch tape today.


Tape (?), n. [AS. tæppe a fillet. Cf. Tapestry, Tippet.]


A narrow fillet or band of cotton or linen; a narrow woven fabric used for strings and the like; as, curtains tied with tape.


A tapeline; also, a metallic ribbon so marked as to serve as a tapeline; as, a steel tape.

Red tape. See under Red. --
Tape grass (Bot.), a plant (Vallisneria spiralis) with long ribbonlike leaves, growing in fresh or brackish water; -- called also fresh-water eelgrass, and, in Maryland, wild celery. --
Tape needle. See Bodkin, n., 4.


© Webster 1913

Tape (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Taped (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Taping.]

To furnish with tape; to fasten, tie, bind, or the like, with tape; specif. (Elec.),

to cover (a wire) with insulating tape.


© Webster 1913

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