A tape measure wouldn’t quite work the same if any of these pieces were missing. Each part is designed to bring you accuracy and functionality!

Scribing Tool

Scribing Tool

Most tape measures have a serrated edge. You can use this to scratch a mark into a surface if you don’t have a pencil handy.

Black Diamonds

Black Diamonds

You’ll see a black diamond on some measuring tapes. These are spaced a little more than 19 inches apart and are meant for construction workers as they mark the standard spacing of trusses when building a roof.

Roman Numerals

Roman Numerals

You will sometimes see Roman numerals on a tape measure. These refer to different classes, with I indicating a more accurate measurement and III being the least. Most tape measures are designed as Class 1 or 2.

Flipped Hook

Flipped Hook

In some cases, it might be more practical to measure from above instead. That’s the beauty of the flipped hook on the end of most tape measures!

Manufacturing Year

Manufacturing Year

Go ahead and ignore that M number at the bottom of your tape. It’s simply listing the year that particular tape measure was manufactured.

Arrows or Stud

Arrows or Stud

Every 16 inches,  you may see a double arrow, a number marked in red, or the word “STUD.” This helps you locate every stud that may run across a wall once you’ve located the first one.

CE Mark

CE Mark

Does your tape measure feature a “CE” mark? That means it conforms to European Union regulations. It’s not really an indicator of quality, but more so of the measurements set forth at a national level in Europe.

Testing Body

Testing Body

This four digit number, which is usually 0126, relates to the agency responsible for certifying the tape measure – the National Weights & Measures Laboratory in Middlesex.

Los Angeles Zoo Source: discover805.com

Tortoise Destroys Zoo

Employees at the Los Angeles Zoo fumbled on the size of a 95-year-old Galapagos tortoise named Clarence. As a result, he ended up being much too big for his enclosure, destroyed everything inside, and escaped until he was discovered on campus at Moorpark College.

Christopher Columbus Source: kickassfacts.com

Columbus Goes to the Bahamas

Christopher Columbus, the famous seafarer, miscalculated the circumference of the Earth when he sailed the ocean blue in 1492. This led him to unexpectedly end up in the Bahamas, although he assumed he was in Asia.

France Railway Source: BBC News

French Trains Too Wide

A railway in France discovered that about 2,000 new trains were too wide for their station platforms. This was an expensive error that ended up costing the railway about $68.4 million.

Sochi Winter Olympics Source: BBC News

Olympians Take it Easy

Athletes at the Sochi Winter Olympics didn’t exactly “go the distance.” Since the loop for the biathlon track was about 130 feet shorter than it needed to be, the track had to be repaired hours before the grand opening.

Are you a professional contractor or do you work for a construction company? Tape measures make excellent personalized business products, whether they’re on your team’s toolbelts or are used as free giveaways at trade shows. You get the peace of mind knowing everything will always measure up for your company!

The Bottom Line

Now you know a little bit more about how that tape measure works and why it matters. This tool is often overlooked, but just as important as that hammer and drill. Give it a little bit of appreciation during your next project!


ToolGuyd. (2017, October 12). When Did You Learn How to Use a Tape Measure? Retrieved May 6, 2019, from

Garage Tool Advisor. (2018, November 2). Parts of a Tape Measure (with Diagram). Retrieved May 6, 2019, from

Harris, A. (2019, April 4). Parts of a Tape Measure (Explained with a Diagram). Retrieved May 6, 2019, from

Howcast. (2010, July 14). How to Read a Tape Measure. Retrieved May 8, 2019, from

Sawyer, A. (2016, July 20). 7 Hidden Features of Measuring Tapes. Retrieved May 8, 2019, from

Poskin, A. (2019). How to Use a Tape Measure the Right Way. Retrieved May 8, 2019, from

The Tape Store. (2015, June 23). Tape Measure Markings – What Do They Mean? Retrieved May 8, 2019, from

Pro Tool Reviews. (2019). Tape Measure Markings: What Are They For? Retrieved May 8, 2019, from

WikiHow. (2019, March 29). How to Read a Measuring Tape. Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

CNN. (1999, September 30). NASA’s Metric Confusion Caused Mars Orbiter Loss. Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Chawkins, S. (2001, February 9). Mismeasure for Measure. Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Harish, A. (2019, March 21). When NASA Lost a Spacecraft Due to a Metric Math Mistake. Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

BBC News. (2014, May 22). Great Miscalculations: The French Railway Error and 10 Others. Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

BBC News. (2014, May 21). French Red Faces Over Trains that are “Too Wide.” Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Quality Logo Products®

are experts on all things printed and promotional. Let our team of awesome, incredibly good looking, and fun promo nerds help you select awesome promotional swag today!