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#1
Old 03-14-2011, 01:47 AM
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Do you use the term "oak tag" or know what it means?

When I was a kid and I had some school project I had to do that required posterboard, my dad would always say, "let's go to the store and we'll get you some oak tag" or something along those lines. By "oak tag," what he meant was posterboard. He used the term as a generic term for posterboard.

I never hear anyone ever say this nowadays. Granted, I'm not in many contexts where posterboard is used. I always assumed it was an old fashioned term. But my dad is not an old fashioned guy at all. He doesn't use any other outdated words.

I can only imagine that he picked this phrase up from his father or uncle, both of whom worked in the printing industry and may have had occasion to talk about "oak tag."

Does anyone else use this arcane phrase?
#2
Old 03-14-2011, 02:08 AM
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I still hear it called "tag board" and have read "oak tag" but never heard it. I live in Wisconsin now but grew up in Michigan and have heard it in both places.
#3
Old 03-14-2011, 02:11 AM
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I haven't thought about oaktag in at least 40 years.

We used it in school in New England when I was a kid. I remember a tough old teacher trying to motivate us to do better at something by saying we would get a piece of oaktag to use if we did well. It was a polished thin hard golden posterboard, doled out sparingly for special projects only. I never noticed it in stores, though. It was something only seen at school like that rough small-format yellow math paper.

Now I'll daydream about sniffing me some nice fresh mimeos.
#4
Old 03-14-2011, 02:14 AM
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New Englander checking in whose NEVER heard that phrase. (I'm 33 FWIW)
#5
Old 03-14-2011, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etv78 View Post
New Englander checking in whose NEVER heard that phrase. (I'm 33 FWIW)
Same age, grew up the same place, and I heard it fairly often.

It's not a generic term for poster board, but for cardstock like medium that's the color and weight of a manila folder, like this.
#6
Old 03-14-2011, 02:48 AM
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Upstate NY. Never heard it and would have had no idea what you were talking about prior to reading this thread.
#7
Old 03-14-2011, 03:54 AM
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Oak tag. Yeah, that brings back memories. I heard it all of the time (and used it) when I was in elementary school. Haven't heard of it since. And like Parenchyma, I can smell the fresh mimeograph copies again, too.

Last edited by cochrane; 03-14-2011 at 03:54 AM.
#8
Old 03-14-2011, 04:21 AM
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Isn't there a song about tying a yellow ribbon around an old oak tag?

FWIW, I haven't heard the term other than from the song.
#9
Old 03-14-2011, 04:49 AM
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I heard "Tag board" a lot growing up but never thought about why it was called that. You fought my ignorance, or at least replaced it with new ignorance.
#10
Old 03-14-2011, 05:15 AM
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Never heard of oak tag but growing up I called and still do I guess poster board- bristol board. Grew up in Toronto 37.
#11
Old 03-14-2011, 05:25 AM
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Elementary school in the 70s in Upstate NY, we used oaktag, and also "vanilla" (manila) paper for special projects.
#12
Old 03-14-2011, 07:39 AM
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Grew up in NJ, lived in New England, Upstate NY, and Utah. I've never heard of "Oak Tag" before this thread, and would never have guessed that it referred to Poster Board.
#13
Old 03-14-2011, 07:44 AM
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Midwesterner. Never heard of it, never seen it. Reminds me of when I first heard someone mention Pee Chee folders, another oddball school item that seems to be regional in use, well-known in some areas, and virtually unknown outside of those areas.
#14
Old 03-14-2011, 09:03 AM
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Don't use it, but I know what it means.
#15
Old 03-14-2011, 10:00 AM
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I recall it being used, apparently incorrectly as a generic term for poster board. It was a good poster board material though.

I'm over 40 and started out in NYC. But grew up in NJ. But I remember it more from my older sisters and not from school. So it was probably more common in NYC then Central Jersey.
#16
Old 03-14-2011, 10:09 AM
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Wow, that takes me back a long way - I haven't heard of oak tag since the '70s in elementary school.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parenchyma View Post
Now I'll daydream about sniffing me some nice fresh mimeos.
"Dittos", surely? Ah, that purple ink, that smell...
#17
Old 03-14-2011, 10:14 AM
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I've heard of it, but just now I was getting it mixed up with Mactac (another arts 'n' crafts-style term). I would have heard it in school in Saskatchewan in the 80s.
#18
Old 03-14-2011, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gyrate View Post
Wow, that takes me back a long way - I haven't heard of oak tag since the '70s in elementary school.
"Dittos", surely? Ah, that purple ink, that smell...
...that achy shoulder from cranking the drum...





(My mom's a teacher. Guess who used to be recruited to make her dittos for her?)
#19
Old 03-14-2011, 10:28 AM
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I grew up in the 60s in southeastern PA and remember hearing it sometimes. I was never sure what the actual words were, though; I heard it as "oaktech" and "oakteg." I'm a word person and need to actually see a word before I completely understand it, so thanks for finally clearing this up!

(Now I must find out why it's called "oak tag.")
#20
Old 03-14-2011, 10:30 AM
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I don't think I know this term from childhood, but as an adult I became aware of it.
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Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
It's not a generic term for poster board, but for cardstock like medium that's the color and weight of a manila folder, like this.
This is exactly how I know it. It's lighter weight than commercial posterboard, so it's a better choice of material for making protest signs and that's the context in which I know it. Protest signs on oak tag, attached to wrapping paper tubes, for minimal weight, maximum effectiveness.
#21
Old 03-14-2011, 12:04 PM
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I remember it from grade school in the early 80s (northeast PA) and same stuff: a somewhat thinner, harder version of the stuff manila folders are made of.

We used it in art class a lot because it was stiffer than regular paper, especially for a base to glue stuff onto.

One teacher, when another kid asked her why it was called oaktag, said it was because the paper was made from oak wood. I don't know if that's true or if that was just her "sounds right so it shuts 'em up" response.
#22
Old 03-14-2011, 12:07 PM
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When I first read the thread title, I had no idea, but when you mentioned the poster board, it sort of rang a bell. Maybe I had a teacher use the term way back in elementary school...
#23
Old 03-14-2011, 12:12 PM
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Last year's Newberry winner, When You Reach Me, has the main character carrying an oak tag project to school (in New York in the 70's). That's the first I've ever heard the term.

Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree, wasn't it?
#24
Old 03-14-2011, 12:18 PM
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It's "oak tag" and not "oaktag"?

Familiar with it from elementary school, SE Penna, early '60s. Refers to stuff similar to file folder paper only -- stiffish, buff-colored.
#25
Old 03-14-2011, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightlystarched View Post
Last year's Newberry winner, When You Reach Me, has the main character carrying an oak tag project to school (in New York in the 70's). That's the first I've ever heard the term.
Interesting. And thanks for the reminder about this book--I'm reading it for class next week and still need to pick up a copy!
#26
Old 03-14-2011, 12:47 PM
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At first I was going to say "no", but then it dimly tickled a memory from elementary school and the image of "something like poster board, but not quite exactly the same, for pasting a collage onto for the visual aid for a school report" popped into my head. Which is apparently what you are referring to. So I guess my actual answer is "yes".

(Grew up in the mid- to late 1970s in NYC.)

ETA: That was before reading any of the replies including mention of "When You Reach Me", which I will now look up.

Last edited by robardin; 03-14-2011 at 12:48 PM.
#27
Old 03-14-2011, 02:28 PM
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37, Illinois, never heard of it. Heard "tag board" very infrequently (and probably wouldn't have guessed it was poster board) but never "oak tag".
#28
Old 03-14-2011, 03:05 PM
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OMG, a trip down memory lane fer sure. And bring on the mimeo!!!

Grade school in the 60s in northern NJ. Ah yes, I remember oaktag very clearly. More than a few projects were done on it in my youth...
#29
Old 03-14-2011, 03:33 PM
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In NY in the '60s it was the only stuff we used. Never heard the term poster board, only oak tag, and it might well have been used generically.
#30
Old 03-14-2011, 04:25 PM
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Never heard of it. 32, grew up in California.
#31
Old 03-14-2011, 05:20 PM
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52. School mainly in suburban Washington-Maryland area. Never heard the word in my life. Poster board was called "poster board".

Last edited by astro; 03-14-2011 at 05:21 PM.
#32
Old 03-14-2011, 05:49 PM
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I'll be dog, I remember hearing 'tag board' as an alternative to 'poster board' but I'd never heard 'oak tag' before today.
#33
Old 03-14-2011, 06:40 PM
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Texan here and I've never heard "oak tag" either. Tag board, yes though.
#34
Old 03-14-2011, 06:47 PM
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Yes, we used oak tag very often back in the 50s-60s. But I haven't heard of it in a long, long time.
#35
Old 03-14-2011, 06:55 PM
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NYC, 70s. Never heard poster board - it was always oaktag.

Last edited by doreen; 03-14-2011 at 06:55 PM.
#36
Old 03-14-2011, 06:59 PM
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50's, Ohio....have heard both oak tag and tag board,but not for years.
#37
Old 03-14-2011, 07:05 PM
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21, New Jersey, have always known it as a synonym for posterboard.

ETA: My brother (17) has never heard of it.

Last edited by Malleus, Incus, Stapes!; 03-14-2011 at 07:05 PM.
#38
Old 03-14-2011, 07:08 PM
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OMG it's like you put me in a time machine and sent me back to the mid 50s. Yup, we used oak tag in elementary school. I turned out to be an artist so I fell in love with a lot of difference kinds of papers, pencils, inks, paints, etc.

I'll return the favor. How about ONION SKIN????
#39
Old 03-14-2011, 07:20 PM
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i haven't heard of it for almost 50 years! Thanks for the memories!
#40
Old 03-14-2011, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tumbleddown View Post
I don't think I know this term from childhood, but as an adult I became aware of it.
This is exactly how I know it. It's lighter weight than commercial posterboard, so it's a better choice of material for making protest signs and that's the context in which I know it. Protest signs on oak tag, attached to wrapping paper tubes, for minimal weight, maximum effectiveness.
I am a teacher and I have oak tag in my classroom at this very minute! But it's not nearly as nice as posterboard or other paper because of being all slick and yellowy.

For protest signs I recommend the large paint stirring sticks, free at Home Depot.
#41
Old 03-14-2011, 07:40 PM
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My daughter knew what Oak tag was when I asked. They use it in class. So still used in Central Jersey.
#42
Old 03-14-2011, 08:04 PM
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I grew up in NJ, and am now in my late twenties - we used the term all the time. It seems to be a NY-metro-area regionalism.
#43
Old 03-16-2011, 03:20 AM
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For those who remember mimeo, was it just the kids in my school who referred to mimeos as "dittos" and the carbon paper forms used to make them as "ditto paper?" We loved getting a chance to make a ditto.
Quote:
Originally Posted by luv2draw View Post
I'll return the favor. How about ONION SKIN????
Onion skin is that very very thin, nearly transparent, yet surprisingly strong paper that many fine Bibles are printed on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by xoferew View Post
For protest signs I recommend the large paint stirring sticks, free at Home Depot.
At some recent mass-scale protests (like the G8/G20 protests) some folks have been stopped before they ever get to the protestor corrals because their paint stick sign holders are seen as potential weapons. Wrapping paper tubes are too lightweight to hurt anyone. And as a bonus, you can cut a slot in it and slide it over your hand, which makes your sign easier to carry.
#44
Old 03-16-2011, 03:27 AM
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Never heard the expression "oak tag". Southern Ontario. I have heard the expression "onion-skin (paper)" though. How many of you know what I mean when I say "duotang"?
#45
Old 01-24-2013, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xoferew View Post
I am a teacher and I have oak tag in my classroom at this very minute! But it's not nearly as nice as posterboard or other paper because of being all slick and yellowy.
Depends entirely on what you're doing with it. One of its common uses is as industrial sewing pattern paper. It's heavy weight, so it doesn't fall apart with use, and it's got a much nicer hard edge than poster board does. Industrial sewing either puts the pattern directly on the fabric, and the cutter traces the pattern onto the fabric with a marker or grease pencil, or it's put on a piece of regular paper the width of the goods to be cut, and it's traced on to that. That paper (called a marker) is then stapled (in the wasted bits) to a stack of fabric (can be a foot thick and 100 feet long, in a big factory) and the pieces cut out. Either way, it's important that the edge hold up, sometimes for years. Poster board and like stuff doesn't hold up; the edges fall apart when it's cut out, even if it's not used.

The nicest stuff used for patterns has one side manilla colored, and the other greenish, which makes it really obvious if a piece has been put down upside down. That's very rare these days, largely because there's no demand for it, and it's more expensive. (The place I buy mine from says they can get it, but it would have to be special ordered, and it costs three times as much.) Most pattern making is done on CAD systems, and most of them can do marker making, which can then be printed to a plotter. (And, of course, lots of the factories are no longer in the US.)
#46
Old 01-24-2013, 07:48 PM
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Just FYI, vorpal, this thread is over 2 years old, and xoferew hasn't logged on since July 2011. So don't hold your breath for a response from him/her.

I'm guessing you found us via google search? Welcome to the SDMB. Pull up a thread, make yourself comfortable.
#47
Old 01-24-2013, 08:09 PM
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I heard it a lot when I was a child. I am 49 now. Upstate NY.
#48
Old 01-25-2013, 01:26 AM
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Southerner, never heard this phrase.
#49
Old 01-25-2013, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GilaB View Post
I grew up in NJ, and am now in my late twenties - we used the term all the time. It seems to be a NY-metro-area regionalism.
I know I'm responding to a two year old post, but not a New York regionalism. I heard of it growing up in Western Pennsylvania, not far from Pittsburgh.
#50
Old 01-25-2013, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace View Post
Never heard the expression "oak tag". Southern Ontario. I have heard the expression "onion-skin (paper)" though. How many of you know what I mean when I say "duotang"?

Eastern Ontario here. We said "oak tag", "onion skin" (although we were probably as likely to say "tracing paper"), and "duotang".
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