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A level is used in construction to make sure something is perfectly horizontal or vertical. This level was made in 1870 by Charles M. and Edwin A. Stratton, brothers who came to Greenfield, Massachusetts in 1848. In 1869, they invented this level and patented it. They built it from rosewood, a tropical wood found in Brazil and elsewhere. This very dense, durable wood could withstand accidental dropping and other rough use. Brass fittings hold glass cylinders filled with a liquid, often alcohol, containing one large bubble. The user reads the instrument by aligning the bubble in the liquid between lines indicating the base of the level is parallel to the ground. The Stratton Spirit Level Company manufactured a whole range of levels in Greenfield. They brought in another brother, Oscar G. Stratton, who worked with them. Charles died in 1893, seventy years old. Edwin's son-in-law, Raymond O. Stetson, purchased the company in 1902. He sold it in 1912 to the Goodell-Pratt Company. In the late 1920s, the firm merged with the Millers Falls Company, which had its own line of levels, and the Stratton brand disappeared. However, the company still operated the Stratton firm's original factory in Greenfield.


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