Keuffel & Esser Antique Tape Measure

Tool: Keuffel & Esser Antique Leather/Cloth Tape Measure

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This Keuffel & Esser Cloth Tape Measure is the first antique tool posted on and with it comes a story of Woodworker’s fate. I’m talking about two kinds of fate here; the kind which befell the original owner and the kind which landed his tools in this woodworker’s hands.

A Keuffel & Esser Tape Measure was included in the 1939 World’s Fair Time Capsule.

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My Keuffel & Esser Antique Tape Measure is missing the first inch, which is not uncommon of used cloth tapes. Come to think of it, it’s not altogether uncommon of all tape measures. How many Powerlocks have I tossed? The leather is in great condition, the cloth tape is missing the first inch and the mechanicals work fine.


When I moved to New England my neighbor was 95 years old. Out of kindness, I would stop in and help her with simple tasks like putting in the air conditioner or fixing the TV antenna. I patched a drafty window and fixed her front door and other handyman help. One day she asked me, since I like tools would I like to have her father’s toolbox? Of course I said yes and since then some of his turn of the century tools have merged into my everyday life. Others have brought new skills and some sit on a shelf. There were so many tools in his old wooden box that I still haven’t discovered them all.

J. Laing was an Upholsterer and his toolbox contains the specialized tools of an upholsterer in the early 1900’s, including this Keuffel & Esser Tape Measure.

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3 thoughts on “Keuffel & Esser Antique Tape Measure”

    1. Hi Craig,
      This tape isn’t listed as for sale, but it’s just sitting above my workbench. I like to have old tools around.

      I check eBay real quick and it looks like these go for $10-$15 with very good ones up to $30. There are currently 56 Keuffel & Esser Tape Measures listed. I’m an eBay Power Seller and have only once sold a tool. I have 1000’s of tools I’ll never use but I sold everything one might find in a ‘dining room’ – I could care less for crystal dishes.

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