Over the years after I finally retired my eight foot folding stick rule I have been given or bought or used dozens of flexible metal tape measures.
This would include, but not be limited to, an oversized Black & Decker which sported a battery operated retraction motor and an off brand model which featured a battery operated calculator built into the face.
All major brands and many not so major brands were represented- Lufkin, Stanley, Black& Decker etc.
The battery operated models suffered from the same fatal flaw- the battery was always dead when you needed it most.
But all of them, over several decades, shared one common feature: the most miserable, useless, irritating, non- functional metal belt clip it is possible to imagine.
The old Soviet Union could not have produced a more incompetent excuse for an attachment design than the folded single piece metal belt clip common to tape measures everywhere.
To use this clip on your belt is to tempt the inevitable- after some ordinary movement- bending over, climbing a ladder, reaching for a tool- the tape will leap from your side and go skittering across the jobsite.
You need look no further than the nearest construction site to see just how useless is this standard issue metal clip.
Almost all workers with a nail apron or tool belt dedicate a tool pocket to carry the durn boxy thing.
Upper crust architects and supervisors carry theirs in a jacket pocket.
Some crew members will even opt to buy some bulky aftermarket leather or plastic carrier which is attached to their belt with the tape attached lastly to the carrier.
In all this time and so much obvious difficulty with the standard design not one manufacturer has EVER, EVER innovated or offered an improved belt clip.
This in an age when everyone now carries cellphones and IPODs and Blackberries on their belt in any number of ingenious configurations
So, a while back, I thought to answer my own question: How hard CAN IT BE to attach a decent belt clip to a flexible tape measure?
In exasperation I rummaged through my box of retired and semi-retired tools and came across a camp saw which had suffered a horrible mangling on a trip but still had a terrific hard plastic belt clip.
By merely detaching the clip from the camp saw carcass with a fine tooth coping saw and drilling some ideally located holes with the aid of a drill press I attached this repurposed clip to the nearest tape measure and created the most perfect belt device I have ever owned!
This thing is comfortable enough to WEAR, as in have-it-with-you even if you are not on an estimate or working on a job comfortable!
So manufacturers do you HEAR me?
This is not rocket science.
The parts already exist ON THE SHELF! You can attach them with existing hardware! (Not that I would mind a few improvements here and there, but bottom line, this is doable, RIGHT NOW, in time for Christmas even)
How about it?
Feel free to send me a generous Research & Development Consulting Fee at your earliest convenience!