A few years ago I acquired this lovely little
Stanley No. 41 straight edge level.
bought it as more of a curiosity than anything
What I found out is that it is
actually a handy little level. I have seen this mistakenly
called a string level, but it does not work for that purpose
at all. It is, however, a very effective straight edge
These curious little levels
were made from about 1859 to 1948. The level has a cast iron
body and a thin stamped brass top plate. Iterations over the
years were mostly different types of patterns stamped in the
My particular copy dates from
1890 to 1895. Here are a few shots of the sides and bottom
of the level.
The level mounts onto straight
edges such as rulers partly by means of a pair of small L’s
cast into the base.
There is another part of the
casting that allows a screw to tighten the straight edge
against the L’s. Once the screw is tightened it is securely
attached to the straight edge, and usually hand tightening
While it may seem strange that
one would want to clamp a level on a straight edge, there is
a definite usefulness to this. Basically since you can use
any straight edge that the level will attach to, you can use
any length you want.
For example, you can clamp it
to a standard 12” ruler, 36” ruler, or even a 10-foot
straight edge if you had one. In some cases the shorter
level is better, but in others the longer level is better.