National Tape Measure Day

On July 14 measuring twice has extra meaning.  It’s National Tape Measure Day.  You didn’t know? Shame on you! The common Tape Measure elevates to an almost Regal Status on this day.

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Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Connecticut made the lives of carpenters, electricians, seamstresses as well as countless other tradesmen and craftsmen easier when his patent for “Improvements in Tape Measures” was granted.  Fellows filed his patent on July 14, 1868.  Enter the generation of retractable tape measures.

The Marked History

 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 workers found it too expensive for its time.  How expensive was it? It cost $17 in 1853, which is about $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 is now available 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.  Measure anything and everything from DIY projects at home to contractors in construction because today’s tape measures are at a much lower price. They are a staple in almost every household!

What the historians don’t mention is how invaluable the tape measure is to dressmakers, seamstresses and of course, bra-makers. How could we ever manage our day-to-day sewing with only a strip of marked leather? No one knows when the fiberglass tape measures we use in the sewing room came along, but we are certainly glad they did. We are happy to include the flexible tape measure along with its retractable counterpart on National Tape Measure Day!

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How to Observe the day

Dig out your tape measure and measure to your heart’s content. Additionally, you can share this blog post or post on social media using #NationalTapeMeasureDay!


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