This illustration shows a Surveyor’s, or Y-level. In use, the telescope is set perfectly horizontal and pointed back at a rod placed vertically at the starting point. The rod is graduated and after a reading has been taken of the height above the ground cut by the cross wires of the telescope, it is moved to a point forward of the instrument, which is then revolved in a horizontal plane and a reading taken of the rod in its new position. The difference in level is obtained from the difference in readings of the two points, and subsequent readings are taken by removing the level, sighting on the rod in its second position, and then repeating the operation, the readings in this case being recorded.
John H. Finley ed. Nelson's Perpetual Loose-Leaf Encyclopaedia (vol. 7) (New York, NY: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1917) 291