American Levels and Their Makers

Traut's Patent Inclinometer, Stanley Rule & Level Co. No. 32

The patented feature of this level was the pivoted arm carrying the vial and the graduated scale. The patent was granted, not to Justus Traut, but to his father, Frederick Traut. This patent was granted on April 23, 1863. It was said that Stanley would custom install this inclinometer fixture on their level of your choice. An green instruction label was mounted behind the inclinometer fixture.

Stanley offered this level for about 34 years but probably only produced it for 28 years or less. The pictured level also carried two other patents, both for the adjustment of the vials. The other dates were November 11, 1862 (Hossmer, Todd's Valley, CA) and July 2, 1872 (Justus Traut). This level carries a second label, on the far right, with instructions on how to adjust the vials. Early levels such as this did not have lines on the vials for help in determining the level position.

The level is relatively scarce in any condition but is quite rare in fine condition with the labels intact. The look of the brass changed considerably during the period that it was offered. Originally the levels had brass tips on the end instead of full caps and the brass around the side views started out being rectangular in shape.

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