Superb brass rule-level by Michael Butterfield, ca. 1700

Superb brass rule-level by Michael Butterfield, ca. 1700


A folding artillery level and rule by Michael Butterfield, c.1700



Country of manufacture


Categories: Navigational instruments, Drawing Instruments


Offered for sale is a fine antique brass level and rule with lovely crisp engraving and two scales of measurements. Signed \”Butterfield AParis\” on one side and the measurements \”Pied de roy\” and \”Lignes\”on the reverse. Signatures are followed by the leafy flourish typical of the period. 

Michael Butterfield was an English Instrument maker born circa 1635 who is believed to have immigrated to Paris around 1663. He initially set up business in rue Neuve-des-Fosses, faubourg Saint-Germaine, trading under the sign Aux Armes d\’Angleterre, however by 1685 he had relocated to a workshop on the Quai de l\’Horloge. Butterfield was appointed Ingenieur du Roi (Engineer to the King) and was a member and juror of the Corporation des Fondeurs. He was also an author who published several tracts on his innovations. Amongst Butterfield\’s patrons were the French Royal Court, the Royal Academy of Science, the Paris Observatory, and the Russian Tsar Peter the Great. He made all types of instruments including very fine drawing and surveying instruments which may be seen in many museums, though he is probably most famous for the pocket sundial with adjustable gnomon known as the “Butterfield dial”.

Condition: Opens and closes perfectly. Beautiful patina with light pitting and scratches as expected for a piece over 300 years old.

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DE Instrumentum

Instrumentum specializes in high quality 17th and 18th century scientific instruments for architecture, mathematics and navigation. We have collected antique instruments for over 20 years with a focus on early and rare European architectural drafting sets, dividers, and rules. If you are interested in something particular please contact us at Image galleries of our inventory can be viewed on Pinterest and Facebook at the following links:

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