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I recently acquired this interesting steampunk-style tool in a trade with my friend Todd Nebel @toddnebel. If you have not seen Todd’s feed, go check it out – he is an elite maker and an exceptionally knowledgeable tool guy.

The information on the tool itself simply says ‘MODEL’ and ‘PAT. U. S. FEB. 17. 13’.

US patent number 1,216,105, for a combined plumb, level, square and inclinometer,was issued to Joseph Gagnon of Philadelphia, PA and William Hawthorne Jr, of Chester, …PA on February 13, 1917. No manufacturer information is available in the patent filings,

Some sources suggest that ‘MODEL’ may be the manufacturer – but I have nothing to confirm that, and can find no relevant reference to a manufacturer by that name. Visually, the construction reminds of the pressed steel levels made by the ACME Level Company, of Toledo, Ohio from the same period – which is why I acquired it… I have several such levels, and it will look good displayed alongside them.

While the patent date is 1917, actual manufacture could theoretically be at any date since then, but in practice it is probably no later than 1934, given the 17 year expiration on patents. It was (and still is) customary to drop the patent date from the labeling post-expiration. Because I have never seen another, I suspect that they were not manufactured for very long, so I will say that this was made c. 1917-20.

 

Joseph Gagnon