Very few levels crack the $1000 barrier. This very special level merits the four digit price.
This is an unrestored and very legitimate Near Mint instrument. I suspect this level and matching tripod were never actually used in the field. The instrument overall shows only the very slightest of wear. (The eye shade for some has more nicks on it for some reason – which you can see in the 360 Spinner above). This 140 year old instrument is about as factory fresh as you will ever find. Note the unworn Gurley label inside the box – a sure sign that this box spent its entire life closed.
My favorite thing – the string on the plumb bob matches the string on the telescope holders. I’ve never seen that before.
I also like the unused trivet setup. I gather that an architect would setup the trivets and trivet holder on a board in stead of using a tripod. Very cool.
Noted Gurley Expert William Skerritt authored a really nice article on Gurley Architect Levels – which you can read here. Skerritt owned many of Gurley’s files, which contained a good deal of info about the development of the Architect Level.
I suspect this level was made in 1883 or so. According to Skerritt’s article, this level has the 1883 design and the label is circa 1883 as well.
Please see my Gurley Makers Webpage for more info about this surveying instrument maker.
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The Compleat Surveyor specializes in rare instruments and books related to land surveying. This initially was a family business - my father (F. D. Uzes) was a noted surveyor, collector and author (Illustrated Price Guide To Antique Surveying Instruments and Books - published in 1980). Having spent a lifetime surrounded by old instruments and books, I now run the business myself. I use my website (www.CompleatSurveyor.com) to both sell instruments and provide historical information related to land surveying.
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