Smithsonian - National Museum of American History, Behring Center

 
Physical Sciences Collection - Surveying and Geodesy

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Alidade
Altitude and Azimuth Instrument
Chain, Tape and Base Bar
Compass, Pocket
Compass, Railroad
Compass, Solar
Compass, Surveyor's
Cross, Surveyor's
Electromagnetic Distance Measurement (EDM)
Gradienter
Graphometer
Heliotrope
Holland Circle
Level
Range Finder
Repeating Circle
Theodolite
Transit
Transit and Equal Altitude
Transit, Geodetic
Universal Instrument
Vertical Circle
Waywiser
Zenith Telescope
Miscellaneous

 

Level

Surveyors use telescopic levels to draw level surfaces and to determine the difference in altitude between several points. In a wye (or Y) Level, the supports for the telescope are shaped like the letter Y. This means that the telescope can be easily removed and turned back to front. Jonathan Sisson introduced this instrument in London in the 1720s. William Gravatt introduced the dumpy level in 1830. Its telescope is short and fat (hence the name), and fixed in its supports. The dumpy level is less precise but more rugged than the wye level. A dumpy level with a small horizontal circle is known as an architect’s or builder’s level. A precise level has a micrometer screw for adjusting the altitude of the telescope. An automatic level uses a pendulum apparatus in place of the bubble. This form was developed in Europe around 1950.

Other levels were designed for gunners, carpenters, masons, etc. A few of these are in the collection.

Collection:

Aloe (convertible) #9067
Aloe / Blunt & Co. #69
Balbreck ainé
Bate
Beckmann Co. #9065
Berger & Sons #10316
Berger & Sons #17475
Berger & Sons #ML1172
Berger (convertible transit level)
Brandis & Co. #531
Brandis Manufacturing Co. #1065
Buff & Buff #7205
Butenschon
Dollond
Draper #294
Elliott Brothers
Fauth & Co. #2239
Fauth & Co. (U.S.C.S.)
Gurley #151265
Gurley (1906)
Gurley (architect’s level)
Gurley (Locke binocular)
Gurley (pre-1876)
Heller & Brightly
Kern
Keuffel & Esser #303
Lingke
Meneely & Oothout
Patten (Burel)
Phelps & Gurley
Queen & Co. #6750
Rittenhouse, Benjn.
Roach #730
Stackpole & Brother #1490
Unmarked (farm level)
Unmarked (Locke)
Würdemann #565
Young & Sons #5867
Zeiss (Ni 002)
Zeiss (Ni 2)
Zeiss (Ni A)