Richard Gurley Drew gets credit for inventing the first pressure sensitive adhesive tape in 1926, he applied for a patent in 1928 & finally received one on 27 May 1930. He was working for the Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company (3M) at the time and came up with the idea while doing research with 3M's sandpapers and working with local automotive shops.
My invention relates in general to adhesives, adhesive compositions or adhesive sheets or coatings; more particularly to pressure energizable adhesives, adhesive sheets or coatings, preferably water insoluble and normally non-drying.
My invention is a continuation-in-part of my prior application, S. N. 182,893, filed April 11, 1927, for Adhesives in the form of sheets or the like and method of making the same.
While my invention has a broad field of usefulness, I have found it of peculiar utility for producing an adhesive coating for limiting the application of the spray of liquid finishing material, such as, for example, lacquers or painting materials used in operations in automobile body paint shops and therefore find it convenient to describe the invention in connection with such practice and product, it being understood. However, that such fields of specific description are employed purely for purposes of illustration of an example of the utility of this invention in its several phases, besides other novel phases as may appear or be hereinafter pointed out.
Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1899, Richard Gurley Drew was only 22 years old when he applied for a job at the The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, a modest locally based manufacturer of sandpaper.
A few years later, while testing sandpaper samples at an auto body shop, Drew noticed the painters’ struggles with the plaster tape they were using. He left the shop with an idea for an alternative. He persevered through such design challenges as premature drying of the adhesive in storage and flexibility of the backing material. A paramount issue was the degree of adherence: it had to be strong enough to hold, easy enough to remove, and not fuse to itself when rolled. His resulting invention would take the world by storm.
Over the next decades, Drew moved up in the ranks of 3M. In 1943 he was given the opportunity to assemble a small team of creative minds and the team devised a host of new products including reflective sheeting to improve visibility of road signs, breathable surgical tapes, face masks and respirators, including many products specifically supporting the war effort during WWII. His team also laid intellectual groundwork attributed to the future development of Post-it notes.