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Although tape measures in general, and advertising tape measures specifically, have not been thematically interesting to me, I’m a huge fan of @oldtape61 Barry’s amazing Instagram feed, and when I chanced upon this it somehow found its way home with me… If you’re not following Barry, please check out his cool photos of his world class collection!
As with everything old that I acquire, I researched it, and gleaned he following information. Patent number 2,549,098 was issued to Louis L Joseph, of Chicago, Illinois on April 17, 1951 for an ‘improvement in retraction measuring tapes’. Apparently, prior to Mr Joseph’s invention, spring return tapes could only be locked with the reel in certain positions. His innovation was the ability to lock the tape at any desired position.
This small, early celluloid example is in nice condition, and in good working order. I like the rich gold on green colors, and (not shown in this image) the cream-colored celluloid side walls.

mellon bank