From Mark H Robinson’s Collection–Tools Used to Mark a level

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In the area around our home in Monthomery, TX, we are experiencing a major weather event. A strong system of thunderstorms coming up from the gulf have dumped record rainfall overnight, there is flooding all around us, and the rain continues – and is set to continue for days… So, here’s a quick one from the archives for Markup Monday.

Those who have followed me for some time know already that I am fascinated by the tools used to mark a level – and until the laser level came along, the ‘bubble’ or ‘spirit’ level was the very best of these. Such levels, and their history, have featured in numerous previous posts, so I won’t bore you by repeating myself (although please do go back through my feed – there are some pretty neat levels back there!). Suffice it to say that there are several hundred in the collection, ranging in age from the 1700s through the 1940s, and representing all of the major use categories and evolutions in design.

The levels in this photo are all wood (rosewood, mahogany or cherry) and brass, all pre-date WW2, all are in the 18″ – 36″ range, and all were made in America. They are amongst several dozen awaiting a little TLC before either taking a place in my permanent collection, or moving on to a new and deserving home. Some are quite rare, and even in this condition would be expensive, while others, even after my tender ministrations, will probably only be worth $30-$50… These low values are an object lesson in the first rule of antique collecting – OLD≠VALUABLE!


tools used to maek a level





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