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published Atlantic Highlands Herald
3 October 2002
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atlantic highlands herald


ROCHESTER, NY �  What boy scout hasn't used duct tape during a camp outing?  The silver colored plastic, fabric mesh adhesive been a staple of American life for decades and now a boy scout from New York wants to recognize the tape to have it's own Merit Badge. 

So far, the Boy Scout Council has rejected the idea of a Duct Tape Merit Badge, but that hasn't stopped Life Rank Boy Scout Rick Adams of Troop 99 in the Otetiana Council of the Northern Lights District (near Rochester, New York).  He has drafted requirements (see below) for the badge and started a letter-writing campaign to other troops in the nation.  The National  Advancement Committee has agreed to review his proposal again this month.

According to Tim Nyberg and Jim Berg, the Duct Tape Guys, duct tape was invented for the U.S. Military during World War II. The original use was to keep the moisture out of the ammunition cases. Because it was waterproof, people referred to the tape as �Duck Tape.� Also, the tape was made using cotton duck - similar to what was used in their cloth medical tapes. Military personnel quickly discovered that the tape was very versatile and used it to fix their guns, jeeps, aircraft, etc. After the war, the tape was used in the booming housing industry to connect heating and air conditioning duct work together. Soon, the color was changed from Army green to silver to match the ductwork and people started to refer to duck tape as �Duct Tape.�

Duct tape is a strong tape that is composed of three layers. The top layer (1) is a resilient plastic (Polyethelyne). The bottom layer (3) is a rubber-based adhesive. The middle layer (2) is a fabric mesh.

Duct tape was manufactured by pressing these three layers together. Now, some manufacturers have created a process that makes the same strong, three layer tape in just one step. While there are stronger tapes (like filament tape), duct tape, when doubled over onto itself can pull a 2000 lb. car out of a ditch, and has the distinct benefit of not requiring any other tools to cut it - you just rip it with your bare hands.

Duct Tape Merit Badge Requirements
Proposed by Richard R. Adams

  1. a. Give a brief report on the history of duct tape; tell how it is made, who invented it and why it was first invented. Create a timeline of the history of duct tape and tell its main purpose in the present day.
    b. Research duct tape in American history and tell how it has helped our country in times of peace and war.
    c. Tell the possible risks and safety hazards of using duct tape and tell how to avoid them.
  2. List 30 uses of duct tape. Discuss it with your counselor and then publish the list to make the people in your troop and community aware of how duct tape can benefit them. The publication should also include the possible hazards of using duct tape, as well as how to safely use duct tape (see requirement 1c).
  3. Discuss various brands/grades/colors of duct tape in use today and tell their differences. Describe qualities that distinguish high-grade tape from low-grade tape.
  4. Demonstrate your skill with duct tape by constructing two of the following using only duct tape: Wallet, Ring, Belt, Cup/Mug, Flower
    Decorate your creations with a design of your choice.
  5. Using one item from requirement 4, do one of the following:
    a. Take the item to a troop meeting and give a presentation on how you made the item.
    b. Enter your item into a local art show.
    c. Have your item displayed in a public display window.
  6. Write an essay of at least 150 words about duct tape. Include in the essay possible careers in the field of duct tape use and production that may interest you, what you have learned about duct tape, and the role of duct tape in the future

If you would like to support Rick in his drive to see the Duct Tape Merit Badge become reality, you may complete the pre-written letter found on his website or write to:

Director, Boy Scout Program Division
or Advancement Committee, S209

Boy Scouts of America
1325 West Walnut Hill Lane
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079

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