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Founded 1930s, United Kingdom
Headquarters Winsford, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Products Sellotape, other adhesive stationery
Owner Henkel

Sellotape (/ˈsɛləˌtp/) is a British brand of transparent, polypropylene-based, pressure-sensitive tape, and is the leading brand in the United Kingdom. Sellotape is generally used for joining, sealing, attaching and mending.

The term has become a genericised trademark in Britain and a number of other countries where it is sold. The term is also used much in the same way that Scotch Tape came to be used in Canada and the United States in referring to any brand of clear adhesive tape.


The name Sellotape was derived from cellophane, at that time a trademarked name, with the "C" changed to "S" so that the new name could be trademarked.[1]

The tape was originally manufactured in 1937 by Colin Kinninmonth and George Gray, in Acton, West London.[2] From the 1960s to 1980s, the Sellotape company was part of Dickinson Robinson Group, a British packaging and paper conglomerate. In the 1960s a small group of chemists (based in Wallington), led by a man named Alan Robinson, undertook a development of the stickiness in this product. In 2002, the company was bought by Henkel Consumer Adhesives.

Sellotape Industrial was bought by Scapa Group plc in 1997, and their products continue to be manufactured at its factory in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.


Sellotape roll in a black dispenser.

The Sellotape brand now covers a variety of tape products, and the word is frequently used to refer to other adhesive tapes in many countries due to its market exposure. As an example of a genericized trademark, it has an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.


The tape can be used to repair tears in paper, or to attach pieces of paper or cardboard together for modelling. On fragile paper surfaces the tape can only be used once, as removing it will either tear the paper or remove the top layer of rough cardboard; on smooth painted surfaces it can generally be removed without leaving any trace, though sometimes the adhesive can remain on the surface. It does not affix items to such surfaces permanently.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Room, Adrian (1984). Dictionary of Trade Name Origins. Routledge. p. 156. ISBN 0-7102-0174-5. 
  2. ^ Hillman, David; Gibbs, David (1999). Century Makers: One Hundred Clever Things We Take for Granted Which Have Changed Our Lives Over the Last One Hundred Years. Welcome Rain. 

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