I have had an old 19th century pocket level sitting on my desk for the past few months. It used to belong to my father. I can’t help but admire its simple but beautiful design, its functionality, and its durability.
It’s about 3.5 inches long and each of the dots on either side of the bubble glass is ¼ inch apart. The lipped loop on the side of the body is for attaching the level to a square to make the level longer. (The set screw is missing.) The body is also made of iron and brass. The glass is still intact and the level still works beautifully.
Compare that to the other pocket level I have—a contemporary plastic affair that is functional, but hardly pretty. Its only extra is is a pocket clip. If I am lucky it might last five years. That’s about how long aluminum-bodied pocket levels (ugly as sin) that I have owned have lasted.
I bet the old 19th century pocket level is around for another hundred years—if not as a functioning tool, then because someone treasures it for its looks.