This level is complex and unusual. With the telescope in its standard position, it can be
used as a standard architect's level. With the telescope turned 90 degrees from its standard
position, it can be used to measure horizontal angles--to effect this, the telescope is first turned
so that the level in on top and a metal fitting falls below. There is some resemblance between
this level and A. S. Aloe's Convertible Level.
Louis Beckmann (1845-1914) was born in Germany, arrived in the United States in 1870,
settled in Toledo, Ohio in 1874, and built his first dividing engine in 1878. A second dividing
engine was designed in 1900, and yet another was begun in 1912. In a catalog, unfortunately
undated, Beckmann wrote: "As the plates of my instruments are divided on one of the very best
dividing engines of this country I can guarantee their graduation to be exact and accurately
centered, both verniers reading the same." Sears, Roebuck advertised surveying instruments
signed "L. Beckmann Co." during the period 1909-1911. Louis Beckmann Jr. continued
manufacturing instruments until 1945, and repairing them until 1951.
Ref: L. Beckmann, Illustrated Catalogue and Price List of Civil Engineers' and Surveyors'
Instruments (Toledo, Ohio, n.d.).
Charles Smart, The Makers of Surveying Instruments in America Since 1700 (Troy, N.Y.,
1962), p. 6.