Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I would like to talk to you about tape

Tape is maybe the most important office supply in my printing office. I'm sure I don't have to count the reasons. Because I have some on just about every surface, as well as in the crevices of my presses and stuck to my shoes, I think about it a lot. I buy the industrial strength clear packing tape, and was happy in the knowledge that it probably stayed stuck until the package arrived at its destination. Until I turned around yesterday and saw a perfectly nice tape stripe peeling up on the edges of a very important package. That situation will not stand! So, I decided to get serious about serious tape.

I already knew the perfect tape dispenser, but I didn't read about it in Tape Quarterly. I heard about this machine in the New Yorker's cartoon issue of 2007, where cartoonist R. Crumb told the tale of his and his wife's journey to the manufacturer of the golden fleece of tape dispensers. In this panel, Aline, Crumb's wife, sits in awe as the president introduces his 90-year old company:


Better Packages, Inc. makes water-activated tape dispensers: durable, heavy, and, for someone used to scooping up bargain-basement machinery, sometimes out of basements, a bit of an investment. Manual BP 333 Plus is my favorite, and looks like a tape dispenser one's grandkids could inherit, it's so durable:

Uline has them, of course, and you can even get a free case of reinforced tape if you buy a heater. Ebay has a few of the more expensive models, as well as some fabulous Deco scotch tape dispensers--maybe I should retrofit all my machines to pre-1920 models! I can't play the will-it-stick roulette forever, though, so one of these days . . . Better Packages will hear from me.

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