IS THIS THE ORIGIN?
We know "red tape" is administrative or bureaucratic procedure that delays progress. On a trip to the California Capitol in Sacramento we may have come upon the origin.
There in the historic office of the late Secretary of State Charles Curry is an example of what well could be the source of the phrase.
Here a stack of documents, tied together, awaiting signature or distribution.
Our curator told us that when the office was swamped with business and when backlogs occurred, the awaiting official papers would be "tidied up" by being tied up with
red string or tape, the kind winning runners would break at a finish line.
That red string kept things from moving forward, through a final processing or disposition.
"It's caught up in red tape," our curator told us became the phrase.
The concept stuck, but I wonder if any one still uses red tape?
See you down the trail.