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Stanley No. 41 Straight Edge Level

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A few years ago I acquired this lovely little Stanley No. 41 straight edge level.

I actually bought it as more of a curiosity than anything else.

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 level.

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 brass plate.

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 Ls cast into the base.

There is another part of the casting that allows a screw to tighten the straight edge against the Ls. Once the screw is tightened it is securely attached to the straight edge, and usually hand tightening is sufficient.

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.

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