Measuring tape

November 2, 2021

Many of us know the Tape Measure or as it is also known flexometer, an instrument that is used to measure. This, like the Bunsen burners , the Rack , the Durometer and other materials are indispensable for laboratories.

History of the Tape Measure

To begin we must know that the inhabitants of Rome used to use marked leather as a rudimentary tool for measurement. So we could say that this was one of the first measuring instruments.

Moving on to the year 1842 in Sheffield, England the blacksmith James Chesterman used a new heat treatment process to redesign a wire. Said wire is designed to make crinoline skirts in a strong iron device. Out of all this resulted the “iron measuring bands” that quickly became popular.

Before this invention, surveyors used heavy chains to measure, but this invention made things much easier. Continuing with the history of this we can say that in 1868 Alvin J Fellows obtained the patent for his tape measure, having the design that we know today.

Then in 1871 Justus Roe and Sons launched the production of cheap steel flexometers. Which were patented as ” Roe’s electrical tape .” This invention was very popular, so the company continued to develop a loop measuring tape.

It is important to mention that this type of instrument did not replace the rules until the arrival of the 20th century. At this exact moment it was that the tape measure became the substitute for the traditionally used wooden ruler .

What is the Tape Measure?

As we mentioned before the Measuring Tapes or Flexometer as it is also known, it works as a measuring instrument. In general, this tape is graduated and can measure great lengths. In addition, something can become rolled up which makes it considerably easier to transport.

If we take all of the above into account we can say that this is a flexible tape. This quality being the one that allows it to greatly expand its measurement capacity. Besides, it is thanks to this that they can conform to corners and curves.

It is important to mention that these have different graduations, being in centimeters, inches or millimeters. They reach great lengths, like 500 meters.

Tape Measure Features

One of the main characteristics of this instrument is that they measure 2 meters on average. Arriving to find in two types that are the spring and the manual. The spring ones being the ones that come with a box, with a cavity that usually reaches 8 cm. While the others are the ones that bring the tape or have a crank.

Regarding the material used for the elaboration of this utensil, we have that it can be greater or less rigid . However, it is important that the tapes have flexibility and can measure on curved surfaces.

Something in which each of the measuring tapes does coincide is in their color, since all of them are yellow and have a black or red graduation. In the same way, they can be rolled up more easily so that it is easier to keep them stored while not in use.

Parts of the Tape Measure

If we want to know how to use this type of product, we must take into account its parts, which are the tape, the stop button, the end tab and the clip for housing and belt. In more detail we will define each of its parts;

Hook-shaped end flange

This part of the Tape Measure is what allows it to hook onto the end of whatever you are measuring. Basically it prevents the tape from staying a part outside the casing when backing up.

Stop button

To start the stop strap is attached to a flat spring that is wound from a post inside the housing. Thanks to this spring, the tape can go back after it is extended. However, if we want to keep the tape stopped in its place we can press the lock or stop button.


This is the most important part of this instrument, since it is the one that contains all the numerical measurements that we will use to measure. We can basically define the tape as the yellow spiral ruler that can be wide or thin.

It is important to mention that depending on how wide the tape is, the harder it will be. In fact, it is depending on this characteristic that the tape can be extended far without bending.

Shell and Belt Clip

We know as a box the part of the Tape Measure that holds the tape, which can be made of plastic or metal. Its function is to prevent the spiral tape from expanding. On the other hand, at the back of the shell we will find a clip that is used for the belt, which facilitates access while working.

What is the tape measure for?

The Tape Measure is used to determine various physical qualities of an object , which as we can imagine are related to its length. Basically it allows to know the measurements of an object, which thanks to this instrument can be taken with precision.

It is important to note that its precision is thanks to its flexibility that it can adapt very well to different surfaces. We must bear in mind that the Tape Measure has been redesigned on several occasions to better adapt to different types of objects.

In relation to the places where this tool is most used, we have in the construction and sewing areas. Each of them having its own tape. If it is a construction tape, it is usually intended to measure objects and distances that are required for exact measurements.

But when it comes to the sewing tape measure, it is important that it can conform to the figure. In these cases it is used in the preparation or arrangement of clothing, allowing the necessary measures to be taken, either in people or in the fabrics of the garments.

Types of Measuring Tapes

The Tape Measure has several types, most of which differ in their use. As we mentioned we can find the sewing and construction ones. But apart from this there is another known as the folding rule. It is important that we know each one of them, since it will allow you to know which one to choose when using it for a procedure. In more detail we can say that the different types of tape measures that exist are;

Flexometer or spring

In this case we are talking about a Tape Measure specially designed for construction. It has a ” box ” where it is wound by an internal spring. These usually stick out with a metal tip, which allows it to catch on the surface to spread the tape.

These were made only of steel, but today it is made with fiberglass to make it much lighter.

Folding or carpenter’s meters

As its name indicates, it is used mostly by carpenters. In simple terms we can say that the folding rule is the one that measures about two meters and can be rigid but it can be folded every 20 cm.

In general, these were previously made of wood, although today we can find them made of glass.

Sewing tape

As its name indicates, this type of Tape Measure is used for sewing, specifically for making clothes. This can be made of plastic or fabric , being its materials extremely flexible and can measure 1.5 m. We must mention that they have marks on both sides with the same scale.

It is important to keep in mind that each Tape Measure can vary both in measurements and with the material that was built. For example there are long tapes which in most cases are used by surveyors . In this case we are talking about a type of tape that reaches from 100 to 500 meters. Besides, they are wound by manual cranks. That is, they do not have springs like those of constructions.


Finally we can say that the Tape Measure is used to measure objects. This is very important if we take into account that measurement is a necessary technique for the manipulation and transformation of objects in space.

To understand this better, we imagine what it would be like to build a house without the defining measurements. If this is done logically there would be no type of alignment, so it is extremely necessary for the construction of buildings. But also for making clothes or shoes.

We must bear in mind that the vast majority of articles and artifacts are made using measurement, so it is necessary to have a tape measure at hand. Finally, we must mention that these instruments have great versatility and are used in multiple situations.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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