Gaffer? What’s That?

Anybody in entertainment production knows what gaffers tape is, but even lots of techs who use it don’t know what a “gaffer” is.

Many theatrical terms come from classic British theatre and gaffer is one of those terms.

The British originally used the term gaffer as slang for “grandfather”, a term that was meant to endear respect. That’s where this name entered the vocabulary.

Early stage lighting was both a hard and a dangerous job, and those who could do it well got a lot of respect from their peers. Thus, the slang term for an elder that earned respect began to be applied to those in the theatre who took on this tough job.

Today we may use a term as lofty as Chief Lighting Technician or even the loftier Lighting Engineer, but those who take this on wear the title of “gaffer” with pride.

The “grandfather” of stage hands is still the gaffer. They are the ones who climb the ladders, string the cable, hang the lights, change the lamps and create the looks that video, stage and theatre directors use to tell their stories.

Gaffers tape proudly inherited the term “gaffer” and Pro Gaff is the gaffers tape used by today’s professional lighting technicians and stage hands.

Harrison Bros. Inc.
Voice 866-386-8335
Fax 800-327-6651

Harrison Bros. Inc.
47 North Chatham Pkwy
Chapel Hill, NC 27517