On July 14 measuring twice has extra meaning. It’s National Tape Measure Day.
Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Connecticut made the lives of carpenters, electricians, seamstresses and countless other tradesmen and craftsmen easier when his patent for “Improvements in Tape Measures” was granted. His patent was dated July 14, 1868. Enter the generation of retractable tape measures.
The first recorded use of the tape measure goes back to the Romans, utilizing marked strips of leather. Before Fellow’s patent, Englishman James Chesterman designed a steel measuring tape, but it was expensive for its time. At $17 in 1853, it was equivalent to $300 in today’s U.S. dollars. It was also big and bulky and not likely to fit in a pocket or toolbox. Fellow’s patent was an improvement on Chesterman’s design.
The tape measure that we know and use now comes in a wide array of sizes, colors and materials. You can find some smaller than the palm of your hand or bigger in lengths of 300+ feet. They are used for anything from DIY projects at home, by contractors and in construction and at a much lower price. They are a staple in almost every household!