Gurley Wye Level

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"Of the different varieties of the leveling instrument, that termed the Y Level, has been almost universally preferred by American engineers, on account of the facility of its adjustment and superior accuracy," declared Gurley in 1871. At that time, Gurley offered four different levels, with telescopes of 16, 18, 20, and 22 inches long. Since the "W. & L. E. Gurley, Troy, N.Y." signature on this example was engraved by hand, the level was made between 1852 when Gurley began in business, and 1876, when Gurley's new engraving machine was up and running. New, with tripod, this level cost $110. It belonged to Bowdoin College.
Ref: W. & L. E. Gurley, Manual of the Principal Instruments used in American Engineering and Surveying (Troy, N.Y., 1871), pp. 197–118.
W. Skerritt, "W. & L. E. Gurley's Engraving Machine," Rittenhouse 11 (1997): 97–100.
Currently not on view
date made
Bowdoin College
W. & L. E. Gurley
place made
United States: New York, Troy
telescope: 18 in; 45.72 cm
overall in case: 4 7/8 in x 18 1/2 in x 9 1/8 in; 12.3825 cm x 46.99 cm x 23.1775 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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