Mystery solved

While at my mother’s, we went over the shopping list a bit before running her errands. One of the things she wanted to get was some basic, transparent tape. The kind you find in the office or school supply sections.

My mother being my mother, she started hemming and hawing, saying, Oh, I’ve got this other tape. Maybe I should use that first (bringing out a roll of heavy duty packing tape), or maybe I should use this tape up, but I’ve never been able to use it.

This is what she brought out.

Yeah. That’s a fabric tape. With a bright blue backing. She’s never used it, because she has never been able to take the backing off. When she moved off the farm, she took it for some reason, and had no idea where it came from or what it was for. Best guess was that my late brother, who worked in demolitions, might have brought it home as salvage from somewhere.

Curious, I look it over and found this on the inside.

It expired 19 years ago.

I’ve never seen a tape with an expiry date before.

I told her I’d take it home so I could look it up. I could have looked it up on my phone right there, but this way I could get it off her hands, so she wouldn’t have to think about it anymore. She has way too many things taking up space that she refuses to get rid of, and it seemed to distress her. I can’t even begin to think what she thought she would us it for when she took it.

So I brought it home (along with 2 ice cream buckets of vegetable peels for the compost pile, a stack of magazines we’ll never read that are only good for the burn pile, and a bunch of onions. At least the onions make sense. They are on the list of foods she’s not supposed to eat).

I think I figured out why it has an expiry date. It’s fire retardant! Or at least it used to be. This is one listing I found:


Polyken 294FR is a printed, linered, flame retardant glass cloth tape for aircraft cargo compartment seam sealing. Very lightweight. White fiberglass cloth printed with F.A.R. specifications. Highly conformable and easy to install. Very flexible accommodating angles and turns. Aggressive adhesive system. Removes easily without leaving residue. High tensile strength. Repositionable.

Applications: Cargo pit applications. Seam sealing (taping) and repair of cargo compartment liners for use on covering pins/rivets where high adhesion and flame resistance is critical. Aerospace industry.

Which means it’s likely something my brother who worked in aircraft maintenance brought home. He’s been retired from the industry for about 20 years, so even the dates make sense.

What blows my mind is that most of the links I followed said things like “ask for a quote” rather than listing a price. I found one with the blue backing like this roll, and the 3″ x 36 yards size was priced at over US$85. Another supplier’s same size roll was over Cdn$100. From the looks of the images I found, I’d say this is a little less than half a roll.

I wonder if the age has something to do with why the plastic backing won’t come off, too.

What a fascinating find!

The Re-Farmer


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