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A man of the cloth and the steel he wields

Tape Dispenser of the Month: 1940s 3M DD-1 Scotch Tape Dispenser

Yeah, it’s been awhile since I did a Stapler of the Month, so what business do I have posting a whole new category, especially one so bereft of popularity as “Tape Dispenser of the Month”? What could possibly have elevated such a humble object to the level of making me decide that I will probably end up having a lot of them?

Well, feast yer peepers:

It’s actually fairly small, but heavier than any other tape dispenser I’ve seen because it’s made of pure cast iron! The thing weighs as much as a brick and has a soft rubber foot all around the bottom edge, so it *stays put* when you pull a strip of tape off it. It’s in excellent shape, nice maroon crinkle paint (now I just need a Maroon SM-3 to match, hear my plea, O Thrift Gods!) and pristine label.

I could tell right off the bat that it was a 1940’s model, just from the general “feel” and the look of the waterslide label, but further research cinched it:

Further research suggests that this model was called the DD-1 (Desk Dispenser 1), made by 3M between about 1938 until it was replaced by the silver C-20 model around 1954. If so, the design was only patented 3 years after it was introduced.

The address and logotype on the waterslide label seems to suggest that this is a late-40’s model, so it’s really in fantastic shape for its age. Not too bad for a buck-fifty! (:

I have to confess, I have a few vintage tape dispensers, so it’s not like this comes out of nowhere. Hopefully, it won’t get as bad as my Stapler collection:

Okay, so I have staplers that match my typewriters. sue me :D

Updated: December 28, 2017 — 9:49 pm


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  1. I don’t recall ever seeing a cast iron tape holder other than the huge ones for packaging tape.

  2. Cool! I snagged a Bear brand tape dispenser a couple of years ago and yeah, it too weighs a tonne. I meant to do a post on it ages ago, but I plumb forgot. As much as I liked its post-War industrial steel look, I gave it a bright yellow paint-job to jazz it up a little. Did the trick.
    Nice one, Rev!

    1. Heh, I declare “Tape Dispenser Month” in the Typosphere – everyone post their favorite tape dispenser! :D

      1. This is one tangent I will pass on. The staplers have assumed control of my desk and refuse to cede territory to upstarts with minimal mechanical qualifications.

  3. Nice! A maroon cast-iron Everest Mod ST would go nicely, but that’d be asking too much of ye gods.

  4. Nice! You just don’t run across these very often.

  5. These big ol’ heavy tape dispensers are terrific when wrapping presents. Love your DD-1 and that maroon color! Usually you find them in mental-institution grey.

    1. Yeah, a lot of people on Facebook had the greenish-grey version. However, when I was researching I found a seller on Ebay who had an unknown number of the maroon ones NOS still in the box, so I can’t imagine it’s a rare color.

      Love your blog, BTW – when my research took me there, I got lost for hours :D

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