T. F. Randolph Level

Surveyor's Engineering Instrument

Brooke Clarke

Alternate Photos
Level Large & Small     Level on tripod L & S       Overall View L & S     Leather Case L & S

    My Uncle using the Level
    Leather Case


This belonged to my grandfather Xenothon Carrithers ( 1880? - 1955?)  he learned surveying form his father and may have received this level from him.  Then his son, Charles L. Carrithers, used it in his land leveling business and later he gave it to me.  The patent date is 1924.  I have used this level to do a lot of jobs, it's as good today as when it was made.

The following quote from the National Museum of American History web site for Randolph in relation to a compass:

"Theodore F. Randolph (1829-1898) worked in Cincinnati, making instruments for surveyors and engineers. On June 24, 1879 he received a patent (216759) for a surveyor's compass with a telescopic sight, in which the telescope and its supports can be detached from the compass. In this example (which is missing the telescope and its supports) the raised rim is silvered, and graduated to 30 minutes. The variation arc, which is located on the compass face, extends 25 degrees, and reads by double vernier to single minutes. The carrying case is marked "PATENTED NOV. 9, 1880," referring to Randolph's patent (234331) for a seamless leather container of this sort. This instrument belonged to the University of Missouri at Columbia."
Survey History web page for T. F. Randolph but only has compass not level.

The Compleat Surveyor link about Compass with 360 degree Quicktime movie

Muskingum County, Ohio Biographys - T. F. Randolph born Brooke Co, VA, moved to Muskingum Co. as a boy. (may be a different person?)

My uncle using the Level

A surveyor had already staked out the agricultural project and my uncle used this level to replace damaged laths that were driven into the ground next to the surveyors stakes.  The mark on the lath was say 3' above the stake and on the tractor he would carry a hand level and a stick with a notch 3' from the bottom end.  Every now and then he would get off the tractor and using his calibrated lath and a hand level would check the height of the dirt where he was working.

On one occasion I noticed that a lath had fallen down so being a good young boy I stuck it back into the ground so he could see it.  Of course this was a wrong thing to do since now the mark on the lath was maybe 6" too low.  But he had a good "level" eye and after removing a few inches too much discovered what had happened.

He was what today would be called an early adapter and was using a Euclid TS-24 scraper (aka bucket).  This machine had HUGE tires and had engines both in front like a conventional Cat bucket and also behind as a pusher.  The grading contractors that were using Cat buckets needed to also have a second bulldozer and operator to push the Cat bucket.

He also had a Huber Warco 4D (AFAICR) blade.  This used hydraulic controls instead of the mechanical dog clutches like on the Cat blades of the time.  You could see weld marks at the bottom of a number of the controls on this blade caused by a new operator who was used to the Cat and the need to "hit" the levers very hard to avoid kick back of the dog clutches.

Some projects done by my uncle and/or grandfather: Hershey chocolate in Salinas, CA, Pulgas Water Temple, CA, streets in the Belmont hills, CA, many large truck farming fields in central california.  On the large fields after the scraper and blade a "land plane" was used to make the ground flat.  Note flat is different from level.  The ground was graded with a slight slope so that it could be irrigated by watering a furrow at one end and letting gravity take the water to the other end.


The set consists of three parts:

The markings are:


T. F. Randolph
Cincinnati . O.
Pat Apr, 22 '84  U.S. Patent 297164 Surveyor's Level Class 33/292 (search on Class 33/29$)
The level can be rotated in azimuth 360 degrees and also 360 degrees in elevation.  The spirit level vial can be rotated 180 degrees about its long axis so it can be used either below (normal) or with the telescope plunged (reversed).  Both motions use apinch screw for coarse adjustement and the elevation also has a fine movement tangent screw.

Because the scope can be rotated in elevation both the scope to support adjustment and the tripod post adjustment need to be done a little at a time until both are correct and the scope can be rotated with the bubble staying centered.  This takes some time to accomplish.

The scope is 7" long with an objective diameter of 1 inch.  The image is erect and just a simple cross hair retticlue is present.  The exip pupil hole is 1/8" diameter and has an internal shutter to keep the optics clean.

Brass is used for all the parts.


Each leg is made of a single piece of wood 55" long.  Part of the tripod is the leveling mechanism for the Level.  A vertical post with a four sided ball at the bottom is pushed back and forth by 4 thumb screws each pair of which work aginst each other to  plumb to post holding the level.

On the bottom of the tripod head there is a circular attachment point for a plumb bob.

Leather Case

Marked in a circular shape:


There is another label on the top center, but I can't make out what it says.

Made of leather using the 234,331 patent seamless construction. 8.5" x 5" x 3" overall size (quite compact).


Patent 297164 Fig 1

17149 Machine for Cutting Indexes to Blank Books, Hodgkinson & Randolph, Apr 28 1857
54598 Improvement in sewers, T. F. Randolph, May 1866 - a way to clean catch basin by fitting a container that can be lifted out

Surveyor's Level Class 33/292 (search on Class 33/29$)
282117 Surveyor's Compass July 31, 1883 T. F. Randolph   33/273; 248/182.1 - the leveling mechanism is similar to that on the level
Tripod mounted compass but uses bare eye to sight, no telescope.
234331 Compass-Box Nov 9, 1880  T. F. Randolph 220/315 - Leather formed into a box after being soaked in water and pressed.

234332   Telescope Attachment to Surveyors' Compasses Nov. 9, 1880 T. F. Randolph 33/272

216759  Surveying Instrument June 24, 1879 T. F. Randolph - 33/285; 33/352 - the compass, telescopic sight and tripod can be seperated
470076  Transit, T. F. Randolph, Mar 1, 1892,


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