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The Davis Level & Tool Co. 1875 - 1892

In 1875, L L Davis reorganized his company as the Davis Level & Tool Co, and continued production of his fine levels.  

These are generally marked Davis Level & Tool Co.:

The filagree on the Davis Level & Tool Co. inclinometer levels was finer than the earlier L L Davis levels, and it appears that the filagree on the 12" models was so fine that it was too easily broken. The 12" models were modified by adding reinforcement to the filagree in several places. These "reinforcements" are easy to spot as they don't flow with the pattern of the filagree. This modification was apparently done early on, as the unreinforced versions are scarce. (level comparison)

The finish was again black japanning, but the gold paint accents were only carried on for a short time - mainly on the 6" & 12" inclinometer levels.

The Davis Level & Tool Co. also produced a line of cast iron "carpenter style" levels with level & plumb vials. The first of these "carpenter style" levels were unmarked and had no filagree, but had the distinctive finials on the end of the level vial found on many Davis levels. They were somewhat plain, and are called "spindle" levels in reference to the spindle shaped support columns. They were made in 4 sizes: 6",12", 18", & 24" long. There has been some debate as to when these were first made. I have noted that some of them use an 1871 patent adjustment for the plumb vial, while others use an 1883 patent adjustment. Obviously, they were only made for a short time, and were fragile due to the limited amount of support between the top & bottom rails. The second type of carpenter levels were stronger, and the 12", 18", & 24" sizes now had a nice filagree pattern.  Earlier versions had paper tags, which are usually missing. Later versions have brass tags with Davis Level & Tool Co. Springfield, Mass. on one side of the level, and pat'd May29, 1877, 1883 on the other side.

Shown below are examples of the "spindle" and the second type of carpenter levels.


 


The line of wood levels was phased out at some time during this period.


The Davis Level & Tool Co. produced a new line of "pedestal" levels, and nickel plated hexagon bodied pocket levels. The pedestal levels were unmarked, but had the distinctive Davis finials. The hexagon levels were marked Davis Level & Tool Co, Springfield, Mass., and had the Davis finials also.



Somewhere around 1890, the Davis Level & Tool Co. discontinued the 6" "mantle clock" style and replaced it with a 7" inclinometer similar to the other 3 sizes.

Around the same time, they also introduced a cast iron carpenter style level with an inclinometer replacing one of the plumb vials. This style is referred to as the "offset inclinometer". This was the most expensive level in their line at the time. High price and short production time combine to make these levels scarce today.


 

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