Until 1800, none of the duct tapes (sorry, duck tape) were adhesive, which though came a bit later. Adhesive tapes made up of rubber and zinc oxide were used in hospitals and dispensaries. Soon the popularity of these increased and people got detailed information on making these at home also. Gradually the invention shifted towards making paper adhesive tapes, which were quite reliable and were also easy to use and remove.
The massive implication of duck tape usage was during the World War times. During World War II these tapes were used to keep the arms and ammunitions moisture free. Every task was needed to be done through utmost sincerity and precision and within less time too. And the duct tapes served the purpose to a great extent. They were made up of paper, were easy to use and remove and above all took less time. They didn't even need a scissor and could be easily cut with hands. And owing to its water proof characteristics it was named as duck tapes.
Duck tapes wouldn't have expected a name change after the world war. After being successfully used in World War II, duck tapes soon gained a firm niche in the hardware market. But the function was much more than that of covering ammunitions. Rather it was now used for covering air ducts. And hence it came to known as duct tapes. Thus duck tape got christened to duct tapes.
And now there have been much advancement in duct tape. People nowadays don't have to choose the only option; rather a number of choices are available for people. These are available in a number of building materials like cotton, nylon, polyester, rayon and fiberglass. They are performing myriad jobs and typically in those places where a strong, durable and sticky substance is required.
Every constructional site, electrical equipment, wiring and most of the other things that are directly or indirectly associated with our lives have a strong association with duct tapes and adhesive tapes; there's no ambiguity in this.