Categories: Civil War and Reconstruction, Invention and Technology, New Haven

First Spring Tape Measure – Today in History: July 14

Tape Measure patent, Alvin J. Fellows, New Haven
Tape Measure patent, Alvin J. Fellows, New Haven

On July 14, 1868, the design of a spring measuring tape in a circular case was patented by Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven. This was the first United States patent for a spring tape measure but Fellows’ patent was actually just for an improvement to an earlier design. The original invention was English and Fellows’ improvement to it was a new way to attach the spring clip, allowing the tape to be locked in any position until the clip was released. Because it was expensive, this type of measuring tape did not immediately replace folding wooden rulers but it was the basis for the locking steel tape measures used today.

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Documents

Fellows, Alvin J. Patent Number 79,965 - Tape Measure. 79,965. New Haven, CT, issued July 14, 1868. Link.
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