Keuffel & Esser Abney level with compass and pentaprism

Keuffel & Esser Abney level with compass and pentaprism

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William de Wiveleslie Abney (1843–1920), an English scientist who made many important contributions to spectroscopy and photography, devised this level in the 1870s while working for the School of Military Engineering at Chatham.
This Abney level is equipped with clinometer and compass. Keuffel & Esser termed it a "Universal Instrument" that gives bearing, grade, and distance with sufficient accuracy for military reconnaissance and preliminary surveying. The clinometer scale is graduated to degrees, and read by vernier to 10 minutes. The inscription reads "KEUFFEL & ESSER CO N. Y." New, it cost $34.
Ref: Keuffel & Esser, Catalogue (New York, 1921), p. 434.
C. Jones, "Sir William de Wiveleslie Abney, K.C.B., D.C.L., D.Sc., F.R.S., Hon. F.R.P.S., etc.," The Photographic Journal 61 (1921): 296–311.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Abney level
Keuffel & Esser Co.
place made
United States: New York, New York City
case: 5 3/8 in x 3 3/8 in x 2 1/2 in; 13.6525 cm x 8.5725 cm x 6.35 cm
level: 2 5/8 in x 5 in x 1 3/4 in; 6.6675 cm x 12.7 cm x 4.445 cm
overall in case: 5 5/8 in x 3 1/2 in x 2 9/16 in; 14.2875 cm x 8.89 cm x 6.50875 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
University of Missouri-Columbia, Department of Civil Engineering
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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