Crystal Clear Tape is manufactured in Taiwan, but it is a product of the Manco Company of Avon, Ohio ( Manco also makes Duck Tape brand duct tape, which as proud co-sponsors of the 1998 Ig Nobel Awards they provided gratis to that year's Laureates. Their trademark is the adorable, wide-eyed Manco Duck; their motto, "We take you under our wing!". The motto also is trademarked. Manco has received not one but two "Supplier of the Year" awards from the Wal-Mart Corporation. Their product line includes LePage Glue, the legendary mucilage of which the great American novelist Joseph Heller wrote so lovingly.

Crystal Clear tape is not Scotch tape, nor sellotape. It is serious stuff. It comes on large rolls like duct tape, 1 15/16" across, and the backing is much thicker than that of common cellophane tape. It cannot be torn with the fingers, but must be cut with an edged implement.

Both the backing and the adhesive are admirably rugged and durable: I began repairing paperback books with CC tape six years ago, and in no case is there yet any noticeable degeneration in the tape. It remains pliable and fully transparent; the adhesive clings like grim death. The heartbreaking yellowish discoloration of lesser tapes has not been observed. In more than two decades of tending to the hurts of disintegrating paperbacks, I have found no other tape which can even begin to compare.

On the outside of the roll -- clearly visible through many layers of tape, such is the crystalline clarity of the product -- is the Manco Duck, and some hints about how to use the stuff: "Package sealing". "Label protection". "Meets all US postal regulations". The duck mascot is pictured wearing a peaked cap like that of an American mailman, with a package under one stubby wing: "We take you under our wing", it says. To that I can attest.

We urge you, in the strongest terms imaginable, to visit There is a touching story of a cat's life saved by duct tape, and a "Stuck at Prom" contest "open to high school prom attendees who wore formal wear made from Duck tape." The prize is a $2,500 (US) scholarship; last year's winners are pictured.