Water level

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probably made in Paris

Postcard of Water level.
© National Museums Scotland

Water level

This is a detail of a water level made in 1774, probably by Louis-Pierre-Florimond Lennel, a scientific instrument maker based in Paris.

The detail shows the inscription on the centre of the level. It reads 'Lennel a la Sphere a Paris 1774'.

The water level may well have been used in the French National Survey, as its leather case carries the official fleur-de-lys stamp. This survey took place throughout the 18th century, but never received sufficient state backing: triangulation work began in 1747, with funding withdrawn in 1756. By 1784 only Brittany was unsurveyed, and this was not completed until well after the French Revolution, in 1818.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-002-061-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1973.72
Date: 1774
Material: Leather case
What: Water level / case
Subject: 5. CARTOGRAPHY, Surveying (Departmental Classification)
Who: E. Lennel, Paris (Maker)
Where: France, Paris
Description: Water level, in a leather case, signed by E. Lennel of Paris, 1774
  • Bennett, J.A. The Divided Circle: A history of instruments for astronomy, navigation and surveying. Oxford: 1987, p 87 
  • For Lennel, see Daumas, M. Scientific Instruments of the 17th and 18th Centuries and their Makers. London: 1972, pp 262 & 332, and Augarde, Jean-Dominique, 'La fabrication des instruments scientifiques du XVIIIe siecle et la corporation des fondeurs' in B 
  • Wynter, H. & Turner, Anthony, Scientific Instruments. London: 1973, p 158 
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