Dumpy level

Jacques Canivet1733

Naval Museum

Naval Museum

This instrument is used to identify horizontal lines in topography and geodesy, the latter meaning the study of the shape and size of the Earth and the positions of points on or above its surface.

It has a solid metal frame on which there are 2 eyepieces, with their horizontal lines of vision arranged so that each corresponds to the lens of the other. The upper section has a suspension point and plumb line, while the lower section has a silver arc on which degree increments are engraved. When the wire crosses the center of the scale, the eyepiece optical axes are perfectly horizontal.

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  • Title: Dumpy level
  • Creator: Jacques Canivet
  • Date Created: 1733
  • Location Created: Paris, France
  • Provenance: This geodesic level was made by the Parisian Jacques Canivet around 1733. He was an artisan scientific instrument maker who worked for the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris. It was used by Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa on the famous French Geodesic Mission to the areas that made up the Viceroyalty of Peru, and which today lie in Ecuador. The expedition aimed to measure the length of a degree of longitude at the equator in order to determine the shape of the Earth. After the expedition, the level was kept at the Royal Company of Midshipmen in Cádiz before being donated to the Naval Museum of Madrid by the director of the Historical Military Museum (Museo Histórico Militar).
  • Type: Scientific Instrument
  • Original Source: Museo Naval Madrid.
  • Rights: Museo Naval, Madrid - All Rights Reserved
  • Medium: Brass, Cristal, Lead and Iron