How to read a measuring tape

How to read a measuring tape


How to read a measuring tape

Whilst the seasoned professionals amongst you will no doubt be fully aware how to read the various markings on your tape, there will be amateurs, enthusiasts or those just starting off in their careers who aren’t yet so knowledgeable. We regularly get asked the question “how do you read a tape measure”. In response to our customers, therefore, we’ve put together this simple guide that explains just that!


Above you'll see a picture of a metric/imperial pocket tape measure. The measurements towards the bottom of the image are metric. In other words they're in centimetres and milimetres. There are 10mm in each centimetre (shown by the ten spaces between each cm) and 100cm in each metre. Whilst the centimetres are clearly numbered, to make the blade easier to read the millimetres are not numbered. Also, whilst a few tapes show '1m' to display the 1 metre mark, the majority will show '100cm'. Whilst Britain now officially operates a metric system of measurement, our nation still sees a curious mix of both metric and imperial measurements being used on a day to day basis. We measure our height in feet and inches, our weight in stones and pounds and our speed in miles per hour. Despite this almost all 21st Century technical, engineering or construction measurements are quoted in millimetres. Most manufacturers have, therefore, opted to produce UK-spec tape measures with both metric and imperial graduations.

When taking external measurements, however, the hook can be placed around/behind the object and pulled gently towards the measurer. Not only does this keep the blade in place whilst measuring, it also guarantees an accurate measurement by compensating for the thickness of the metal hook in the measurement. Be sure to use the hook properly when using your tape measure!The modern idea of tape measures originated in tailoring with cloth tape used to alter or fix clothing. It wasn’t until carpenters adopted the Farrand Rapid Rule, patented by Hiram Farrand, that the tape measure became a staple of common usage. Ferrand’s design was later sold to Stanley Works. (Source: www.johnsonlevel.com)


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