125 years ago, rolling tape measures were made of printed fabric, wound around a spool in a bulky cartridge. One would pull out the tape measure and reel it back in, as one would a fishing reel. Modern, stiff metal tape measures were invented in the Twenties; the concave-convex metal tape allows it to remain relatively stiff, an aid to measuring. The "thumb lock" tape measure was patented by Stanley in the Sixties.
Speaking of Stanley, this New Britain tool manufacturer made the folding pocket measure, shown above. This is the "Stanley #62," made of boxwood and brass (which is used for the hinges and along the sides of the ruler). A measuring stick like this would be carried in the pocket and unfolded when needed. I picture an early Twentieth Century designer—perhaps an architect, an engineer or a manufacturer—carrying this in his tweedy jacket pocket. In my mind, he pulls it out to check and confirm the dimensions of some in-the-works project. Today, such a measuring stick is handy on other kinds of job sites: interior designers, shopkeepers, antiques dealers. It would also make a handsome (and useful) statement on nearly any desk or credenza. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248