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Crystal Clear tape - a life saver for every high school student. Any student who attends a high-pressure college preparatory school knows that her fall back point during any emergency lies on one of the tables in the physics department - a roll of Crystal Clear tape.

Tape has many uses. There is, first and foremost, its most standard application - sticking things together. When one is required to bring boxes full of canned foods for the latest mandatory homeroom service project, Crystal Clear tape is the best way to keep the boxes closed. Though duct tape would also fill this requirement, Crystal Clear Tape gives the future opener of the box a great deal more aggravation due to its invisible nature, and the student hours of amusement.

Next, there is the plaid uniform skirt use. Uniform suppliers often monopolize one particularly prep school's clothing, there for raising prices to an inordinate degree. This also allows the supplier to make these skirts in Mexico or Vietnam for very little money. This cheap quality leads to ripping hems and seams. These rips are quickly and easily fixed with the use of Crystal Clear Tape, and it is less obvious than many other solutions.

Students in preparatory school typically require inordinate numbers of heavy textbooks. These over-used and abused schoolbooks take a beating while being crammed into backpacks for the journey home. This causes the corners to fray, the spines to break, and the covers to fall off. Crystal Clear Tape gives the student the ability to easily restore the book to a semi-usable state, perhaps giving the book enough strength to last another semester.

Because of this dependence on Crystal Clear Tape, high school physics departments are under huge demands. The student often forgets tape while trying to complete her homework, and therefore has no tape when she desperately needs it. Physics teachers always keep scissors, marbles, meter sticks, and Crystal Clear Tape in their rooms, for undisclosed reasons, and the prep school student is forever indebted to physics teachers.

Crystal Clear Tape is manufactured in Taiwan, but it is a product of the Manco Company of Avon, Ohio (http://www.manco.com). 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 http://www.manco.com. 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.

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