I like items that confuse me at first. Like many, I enjoy figuring out the puzzle of their story. When I first saw the words “Cadillac” and “Craftsman” engraved on an item with a laurel in a font similar to the Craftsman Tool logo I assumed it was some strange crossover of the two. And I became more intrigued when I discovered the item was a stainless steel tape measure made by the Zippo company.
Unfortunately, it isn’t a three-brand crossover, but it is a fascinating thing. Cadillac Craftsmen were a group that was sponsored by the Cadillac car company and certified to have a certain amount of knowledge and experience working on Cadillac vehicles. As a reward for being up to the company’s quality standards, those certified also received a bunch of cool swag, which seemed to change from year to year. And one, or a few, of these years they were given an engraved Zippo tape measure.
I never knew Zippo made tape measures, which they still do, in several versions: the main one looking nothing like this, and the promotional version (available only as such, it appears, like the Bic Clic) which is very similar to this one. This 6’ (180cm) (though the feet aren’t marked, only inches and cm) model has a brushed stainless steel body quite similar in dimensions to the bottom half of your standard Zippo lighter, and a plastic base bearing the company name. The tape is nothing special: it’s white, and 3/8ths inch thick. Mine’s a bit dirty and the action is kinda gummy after what I assume is years of use, but it’s still readable and retractable.
I hope that items like these have led long and useful lives. It’s a well-built tool that was presented to a workman and I’d like to believe it performed admirably for many years. I probably won’t be nearly as hard on it (as I’m not wanting for tape measures) and it’ll now likely be able to mostly retire into my Zippo collection having done its job well.