What is the name of the type of spring used for trinkets that are retractable? Like a measuring tape or those key rings that will retract.

1 Answer 1


A quick search for "tape measure spring" resulted in a list of various products, but also included the term "recoil spring." Changing the search term to "recoil spring" really threw a wrench in the works, however, as some of the returns presented items related to gun-type weapons.

More appropriate to the question is that recoil spring also appears when dealing with pull-start engine mechanisms. As with a tape measure, extending the spring loaded portion (starter rope, tape measure, etc.) causes the recoil spring to tighten up, providing the retraction force in the expected and desired manner.

  • It seems that the actual name is “recoil spring” but search results aren’t precise. But then I searched “rewind spring” and it seems to return only those types but still calls them recoil. Nov 21, 2018 at 1:14
  • @Timinycricket - Actually it is called is a flat spring
    – rebusB
    Aug 22, 2019 at 14:52
  • 1
    @rebusB you are correct! Where were you a year ago? Lol. Aug 23, 2019 at 1:50

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