Würdemann Level

Description
This unusual instrument is probably best described as a precise level with a graduated horizontal circle. The telescope is provided with a long and graduated level vial, and an ingenious clamp and tangent screw moving against the silvered vertical arc controls its elevation. This arc extends 20 degrees either way, and is graduated to 10 minutes and read by vernier to 20 seconds. The horizontal circle is silvered, graduated to 15 minutes, and read by opposite verniers with reflecting glasses and magnifiers to 30 seconds. A trough compass and a circular level are mounted above the horizontal circle. The signature reads "Wm. Würdemann, Washington, D.C. 565."
The U. S. War Department transferred this instrument to the Smithsonian in 1931, in a pine box marked "Capt. M. C. Meigs, Washington Aqueduct -Wurdemann--Grading Transit--1854." It was used by Montgomery C. Meigs, the captain in the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers who was tasked with surveying the course of a new Washington Aqueduct in 1853. Since William Würdemann was the leading mathematical instrument maker in Washington at that time, it is reasonable that he was asked to make instruments for this important task.
Object Name
level
maker
Würdemann, William
Measurements
overall: 8 1/2 in; 21.59 cm
horizontal circle: 5 1/2 in; 13.97 cm
needle: 4 1/4 in; 10.795 cm
telescope: 11 1/4 in; 28.575 cm
level: 5 1/2 in; 13.97 cm
place made
United States: District of Columbia, Washington
ID Number
PH*310299
accession number
115960
catalog number
310299
subject
Measuring & Mapping
Surveying and Geodesy
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

Submit a comment or ask a question about this object using the form below. Submissions are moderated and may receive a curator response. Please note that we cannot evaluate or appraise your personal artifacts. For other questions or general inquiries please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.