When I am out propping a shoot, I always need a tape measure, looking for the right size plate, surface, glassware, linen, you name it, it is a vital tool for styling.
I have lost hundreds over the years, and don't seem to find as many as I lose. I have measured the span of my hand spread open, from thumb to pinky for those rare days when I have forgotten it at home or lost another, but it's not a great substitute for the real thing.
Businesses used to give out tape measures, advertising their store or holiday greeting, so it is common to find them in vintage shops at a wide range of prices, though It is somewhat rare to find them with great graphics.
OLDTAPE61 on instagram, finds phenomenal old tape measures with great design and character. He surprises me with his interesting collection each week. You should definitely check him out.