Sellotape Goes on Sale
Hoover; Durex; Tipp-Ex; and Sellotape: brand names that have entered into common usage in Britain to such a point that they have become generic. Blue Peter may say sticky-tape, but we know they really mean Sellotape.
These products become genericised because they are pioneers, filling needs. When Sellotape was put on sale in 1937 it quickly began to replace string as the method of wrapping parcels, a nice association for the product which in many minds is linked with birthdays and Christmas. It found plenty of other uses of course: during WWII it was seen on just about every window in the land laid in a big X from corner to corner, a basic way of reducing the danger from flying glass in the event of bombs dropping nearby; and what office would be without a reel or two; and which of us spectacle-wearers has not at some point fixed breakages with a turn or two (even Harry Potter?)?
Sellotape was invented by Colin Kininmonth and George Gray, their choice of name derived from the cellophane material on which they had put rubber glue: they had to change the cello- prefix to sello- to avoid trademark conflict. Originally made in Acton in West London , it has for many years been produced in Dunstable , where the Christmas rush begins in the summer.
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