Why Duck?

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What’s with the ‘Duck’ in Black Duck?

Quack…quack… Yes, we’ve heard all those duck jokes, and we’ll still laugh if you tell them to us again – we’re nice like that!

However, the duck in Black Duck has nothing to do with the feathered variety; and everything to do with the Dutch word doek:

duck 3   (dŭk)

1.  A durable, closely woven heavy cotton or linen fabric.

2.  Clothing made of duck, especially white trousers.

[Dutch doek, cloth, from Middle Dutch doec.]

Cotton duck, or simply duck, is a type of textile commonly known as canvas.  

A durable and plain woven cotton fabric, duck is used in a range of applications from manufacturing shoes and work wear, to sail making.  Originating from the Dutch word doek, ‘duck’ refers to the linen canvas fabric once used in trousers and outerwear worn by sailors. 

Duct tape also factors into the history of ‘duck’ – originally having been created by adding an adhesive backing to cotton duck fabric.  The interesting version of duct tape’s inception goes like this – the tape was originally developed to seal ammunition boxes for the US Army during World War II by Johnson & Johnson. Soldier’s dubbed the waterproof tape ‘duck tape’ as it repelled moisture ‘like water off a duck’s back’.  Or so the story went, until recent research indicated there was no proof of any such story!  

There have been several brands of cloth tape with waterproof properties created throughout the years, including tape sold for sealing air-conditioning ducts, coloured silver.  It seems most likely that this led to an informal name ‘duct tape’, which an adhesives company recognised as often being referred to as ‘duck tape’ and coined the term, trademarking it in the 1980s.  So, it would seem, although duct tape originated from the duck fabric, the common mispronunciation as duck tape, is a happy coincidence!

So – whilst ducks and ducts are interwoven in the history of this  textile, the durability, water resistant and ‘no frills’ character of cotton duck made it the original fabric choice of Black Duck’s founders.

With the vision to produce a tailored seat cover able to brave the roughest of treatments, in quantities rather than made to measure, canvas stood by our side throughout the realisation of the vision…but that’s another story! 

Want to learn more about Black Duck SeatCovers? Follow this link.