Locke Hand Level

Locke Hand Level

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Usage conditions apply
John Locke, a scientist in Cincinnati, Ohio, described a reflecting level at a meeting of the Association of American Geologists and Naturalists in 1842, and obtained a patent (#7,477) in 1850. Locke's instrument consisted of a small spirit level on a brass sighting tube, with a small diagonal reflector so arranged that the user can see the bubble and a distant sight at the same time.
The "SWIFT INSTRUMENTS INC. BOSTON 25, MASS." inscription on this example indicates a date between 1943, when the U.S. Post Office began using the numbers of the postal substations in various cities, and 1963, when it introduced five-digit zip codes.
The firm of Swift & Anderson was formed in Boston in 1926 with the aim of importing optical and other instruments. It became Swift Instruments following the death of its founder in 1950.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Locke level
date made
circa 1960
Vogel, Robert M.
Swift Instruments, Inc.
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
overall: 1 in x 5 1/4 in x 1 in; 2.54 cm x 13.335 cm x 2.54 cm
overall: 1 1/16 in x 5 1/16 in x 1 1/16 in; 2.69875 cm x 12.85875 cm x 2.69875 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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