Here’s Why It’s Called “Spike Tape”

Calling 1/2 inch gaffers tapespike tape” doesn’t make much sense unless you know a little theatrical history.

Spike Tape
Pro Gaff Spike Tape

Stage, video and film techs know that gaff tape slit to a half inch width is called spike tape, but most of them don’t know why. Pro Gaff half inch gaffers tape is the audio video pro’s favorite spike tape but even some pros don’t know where the name “spike tape” originated.

To understand this bit of folklore, you need to return to the days of Shakespeare. The theatres were essentially outdoor venues, even though they had basic theatre structures.

At the Globe Theatre in London, and other theatres in England, the floors were dirt.

The reference to performing on stage as “treading the boards” didn’t come into use until much later.

When staging a show on a dirt floor it was necessary to drive a spike into the ground in order to show actors where to stand or to indicate where props and set pieces should be placed.

When stage marking replaced wooden stakes with tape marks the term “spike” stuck (get it?) and that is why thin gaffers tape is called spike tape today.

By the way, has spike tape in twenty colors.

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