Does anybody use the graduations on the back of a levelling staff? If so. what for? Or what have you used them for in the past?

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Levelling staff.

Two "E" pattern staffs are shown on the right, note slight differences in the marking and numbers. The "E" pattern is designed to make it easy to read a small section of the scale when seen through a telescope.

The staff is simply a large ruler, available in lengths of 3, 4 or 5 metres and usually made of aluminium with telescopic sections.


The sections have locking buttons to ensure accurate length is maintained.


Some staffs also have an extended length scale in mm on the back.




Measurements are in metres and cm (10mm blocks) which enable heights to be estimated to 1 mm. Alternating colours are used to differentiate each metre length, the most common being black and red on a white background.

Major graduations occur at 100 mm intervals and are denoted by figures. Minor graduations are at 10 mm intervals and form coloured squares or intervening spaces. The lower 50 mm of any 100 mm block are joined by a band to form the distinctive E pattern which is designed to make reading a small section of the staff in the telescope easier.

Example staff readings are shown below:


is this what you are referring to?  if not, please share a photo of what you mean..hope this helps

Hi, thanks for this. I'm familiar with the front of the staff, but I've never had any need to use the 1mm graduations on the back, where the scale decreases as it goes upwards. Any examples of where that would come in useful would be great. Perhaps it was used in the past for something but is now obsolete. 


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