Skip Main Navigation Skip To Navigation Content

Multimedia Gallery

You are here: Census.govNewsroomMultimedia GalleryAudioProfile America › Sizing Up
Skip top of page navigation

Sizing Up

July 14, 2014

You may Listen or download this story in .mp3 format or as a .wav file.

Profile America — Monday, July 14th. Almost every home has at least one. They can be made out of cloth, plastic, or metal. Seamstresses and tailors use them, as do professional craftsmen and weekend do-it-yourselfers. It's the tape measure, patented on this date in 1868 by Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Connecticut. His version had a feature still used today -- a spring click lock to hold the tape at any desired point. One notable tape measure was 600 feet long and gold plated. It was presented to New York Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle in 1956 to honor his longest home run. Tape measures are sure to be found at the nation's more than 15,000 hardware stores, which employ more than 130,000 American workers. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at

Sources: Kane's Famous First Facts, 7926

Jane Leavy (2010). The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood NAICS 444130

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | Last Revised: June 27, 2014