I’m told that about 1840 or so the spirit level came about. It is more reliable and more sturdy than the plumb bob square or level that I was accustomed to. I bought the pair pictured above after we had built my business. But they saw much use in building both the local church and the little school e built from an abandoned barn across the road.
I am a slow learner in these new things. I was slow to appreciate the rifle, slow to understand the metallic cartridge and slow to understand new and more efficient tools such as the spirit level. But I have come to fully appreciate them, though it took some time.
My first two levels were a JW Andrews made about made sometime in the 1840’s and a DM Lyon made a few years later. I like brass and wood especially if that wood has a pleasant grain or a nice shine to it. These levels were well used when I purchased them on a trip to Saint Paul. The price was good and I thought I might be able to use them.
When I arrived to home I applied several coats of oil and saw the wood come to life. They are not only functional they are of an exceptionally smooth wood that is quite pleasant to the touch. My Mina is less impressed with them than I but she does appreciate the color I think. I caught her using the shorter of the two to prop open a window last summer.
There is something oddly calming to me about tools. I do not understand why but I can sit and work at my shave horse fashioning a stool or simple chair and when done I feel rather comfortable and content. I have built something; while I known my construction is rather amateurish and crude it is my own. There is a bit of pride in knowing that I have built something. As a soldier I helped build many a road and did work on stone walls and buildings. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much of that knowledge has stayed with me. How much I have been able to remember and use again has been useful to both myself and this growing village.
Oddly, if some more of these new spirit levels were to come my way I do not believe I would be likely to complain. They display well on the shelf behind the bar. having tools that I might sell in the future is an investment of sorts that seems a wise decision.