R. Patten & Son Reflecting Level

This level consists of a brass frame supporting a small piece of glass, partially silvered, that can be held by hand or mounted on a Jacob staff. M. Burel, a French military engineer, developed the form in the early decades of the 19th century. This example is marked "Richard Patten & Son Baltimore." It dates from the period 1853–1862, when Richard Patten & Son were working in Baltimore, Md.
Ref: M. Hachette, "Rapport . . . sur un nivea–réflecteur inventé par M. Burel, lieutenant–colonel au Corps royal du genie," Bulletin de la Societé d'Encouragement pour l'Industrie Nationale 26 (1827): 275–283.
D. J. Warner, "Richard Patten (1792–1865)," Rittenhouse 6 (1992): 57–63.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Richard Patten and Son
overall: 8 in x 4 in x 1 in; 20.32 cm x 10.16 cm x 2.54 cm
place made
United States: Maryland, Baltimore
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, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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