History of Tape
The first tape rule was and patented by Alvin J. Fellows in 1868. It was a spring-loaded tape resembling the models sold at hardware stores today. At the time, foldable rulers made from wood were popular with carpenters. In fact, the folding ruler remained the dominant measuring tool in the construction industry until the 1940s, when Stanley Works began manufacturing their own line of steel measuring tapes.
Most tape measures used by carpenters can measure distances of up to 25 feet, however, extended length tape measures may be up to 100 feet long.
Over the last few years, a number of laser tape measures have hit the market. These instruments do not use tape, but rather utilize a laser beam to measure the distance between points. Laser tape measures provide a quick readout and are accurate to about a quarter-inch at 100 feet, adequate for the majority of projects. For important measurements, however, it is hard to beat the traditional, spring-loaded retractable tape measure.