A measuring tape is basically a soft pliable ruler. First prototypes of such device were used in classical Rome, where bands of skin were employed so such purposes. First tape measures that resemble modern-day appliances appeared in the 1860s. Tapes are made of plastic or thin metal strips, sometimes fabric. These strips have length indication marks, just like any regular ruler. Tape rules can measure great lengths (exceeding regular rulers), and still such devices can easily fit in a pocket. The flexibility of the tape element allows to apply it around edged and curved surfaces.