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You can ask a group of Germans if anyone has got tesa with them and nearly everyone will know what you're talking about and hand you any kind of adhesive tape in case they've got some with them. Tesa, aka tesafilm, has reached the pinnacle in the world of products, higher is not possible. The brand name has become the generic name for the product.
Nowadays there are about 6.500 different tesa products which are sold in more than 100 countries - from China to the Vatican - , yet brand awareness seems to be restricted to its homeland. At least in the UK the name tesa doesn't seem to ring any bells although tesa products are sold there as well. Surprising! Maybe I can change that. It often happens, doesn't it, that after hearing or reading about something, you suddenly notice it. About 300 products are on offer for the office, home and garden, for affixing, mounting, packaging, renovating, repairing, insulating, and protection from insects, dust and drafts. That means it's nearly impossible to avoid contact with a tesa product.
I'm going to restrict myself to the tesa transparent adhesive tape. Firstly, it was the first tesa product, secondly, it's the most widely known and thirdly the most impressive statistics wise.
- It was 'discovered' in 1936 when it transpired that an adhesive bandage wasn't as good as it was supposed to be. It irritated the skin and so the scientist in charge made a virtue of necessity and launched the first technical adhesive tape.
- 98% of the German population know it and 76% like it. Count me in.
- About 50 billion meters have been sold since its launch in 1936. Try imagining this! Test your imagination with this fact: with the amount sold in 2010 2.800 soccer fields could have been covered completely.
When the tesa adhesive tape is rolled up, it looks slightly yellow (as you can see in the pic at the top of the site). When I roll it off the dispenser, it looks transparent. Odd. I guess that it's very slightly coloured and that the colour only shows when many layers of tape are on top of each other. When you look at one single strip of tape, it appears colourless. The normal household and office tesa adhesive tape comes in three widths: 12, 15 and 19 mm. If I'm not mistaken, one roll is 50 m long. Every now and then new dispensers are developed by the tesa designers to make your desk look stylish and cutting edge. There's also an eco friendly variety. They can all be used for all widths. Mine is old, red and blue and slightly broken. I keep it in the drawer. Think of it, I could spoil myself with a new one.
I must confess that I haven't always been faithful to tesa and also bought adhesive tape from no name firms. Yet I've returned to tesa remorsefully. It is the best. I don't use it regularly but have it handy for all kinds of paper related adhering stuff. The family living with us in our house know that I've got a roll in my desk and borrow it when in need. The last time I bought one the shop assistant asked me which width I wanted. I didn't know what to say because I hadn't measured my old one and asked for the middle one. Now I think it would have been better to take the widest. I don't much like working with tiny things. But it isn't a problem.
You may be interested in the name. What does tesa mean in German? It means nothing. The brand name was created out of the letters of a secretary's name. She was called Elsa Tesmer. The first two letters of her surname 'te' and the last two letters of her name 'sa' make 'tesa'. A stroke of genius which may have helped to make the product saleable worldwide. Would it have had the same success had the secretary been called, say, Ingeborg Strasser. 'strg' doesn't sound too snappy, does it?
It doesn't make much sense to mention a price here. British Amazon sell tesa adhesive tape, but you wouldn't order it there, would you, and pay more for the postage than for the product. Look out for it at your stationary's or supermarket.