National Tape Measure Day
July 14th, measuring twice means something extra. 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. On July 14, 1868, Fellows was granted a patent for “Improvements in Tape Measures” that created a whole new era for measurement. 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 Fellows’ 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. Chesterman’s big, bulky design didn’t fit in a pocket or even a toolbox. When Fellows’ patent came along, tape measures became the sliced bread of the toolbox.
The tape measure 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 standard tool in almost every household.