Turn of the (previous) century tape adhesives?

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HooksForFeet

New Member
I'm wondering what people around the 1900's used to adhere pieces of paper together. I've been reading some Grail Diary threads and some of the inserts are "taped" in. Making a similar (but slightly earlier) diary myself I suddenly found myself wondering what kind of tape people used around that time. Scotch Tape and Sellotape date from roughly the 1930's, which leads me to think that transparent tape would look out of place. Wikipedia tells me that "pressure-sensitive tape", as it is apparently called - was invented around the 1850's, so I suspect some sort of non-clear tape would be common around the 1900's, but what kind? My guess would be something with a paper backing like masking tape but perhaps people around here know more about it. Another possibility is that water- or heat-activated tape was more common, or tape was not commonly used at all and people were more prone to use glue.

Anybody have any advice on historically accurate tape?
 

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Krats

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Well that's an interesting question. It looks like prior to the 1930s "Pressure sensitive tape" was only really used for bandages and band-aids. Water activated gummed paper has been a thing for a long time however so this might have been an option. Failing that perhaps a piece of plain paper and some glue might have done the job prior to sticky tape becoming readily available?
 

JMSupp

Active Member
There are a bunch of different ways to "tape" things around 1900, the easiest being a "gum" adhesive or a paste. Gum arabic or gum lac are the most popular, but there are other "gums". There are starch or gelatin based adhesives, or pastes, but most of those require heating of the glue before use. Simple starch based pastes were really common, and could be made at home. There are also a lot of different "dry mounting" techniques that were used around the turn of the century, as well. Most of those are heat activated, and were fairly common.

Look up how photos were mounted at the turn of the century, that's really the best guide. Mounting things using "tape" was not common, except perhaps with a paper hinge. There were lots of other techniques used.

 

HooksForFeet

New Member
Wow, now that is one comprehensive source. Thanks JMSupp! And yeah, for simplicity's sake I think I'll stick to simply pasting things in either directly or with strips of paper (as per Krats' suggestion) until I read something in that Dry Mounting paper that stands out.
 

JMSupp

Active Member
Keeping it simple and easy is probably best! Mostly because, it's what they would have done. Most of the scrapbooks I've seen with ephemera in them have papers, cards, and such directly pasted into them, or have small envelopes pasted in with whatever put inside. I can honestly say I can't recall seeing much in the way of anything resembling tape (except for fabric medical tape) being common until just before WW2, except as repair.
 

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chibobber

Member
Look into "Mucilage" glues. Very commonly used for your question. Right time period.
A little mucilage then a thin silk ribbon and you have tape.;)
 

division 6

Master Member
I used to scrapbook at my grandmothers in the 1960's and she made paste out of flour and water.
I even have my dad's book from the 1940's done the same way.
 

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