Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Capability Brown's Abraham Lincoln Spirit Level

  (+31, -1)(+31, -1)(+31, -1)
(+31, -1)
  [vote for,
against]

Simply assemble a group of 16 or so either soot-faced or ruddy cheeked young lads from the workhouse and fit each with a stove-pipe hat of such height that the height of each boy when added to the height of his hat is exactly the same as for the other boys. Then, you are free to distribute said group around whatever lawn your are, in your capacity as landscape gardener, attempting to ensure is entirely level, which level-ness can be determined by reference to the same heightiness of the hats.

Employers concerned about the recent legislation regarding child labour will no doubt be pleased to hear that the stove-pipes are secured on the heads of your doughty team by means of a chin strap, which is fashioned to look like a beard, so as to ensure each boy looks older than 12 and therefore the eye of the constabularly will be deceived, though, of course, quite unintentionally.

calum, Aug 19 2007

Another guy http://en.wikipedia...ki/Capability_Brown
[normzone, Aug 19 2007]

Enclycopedia Brown http://en.wikipedia.../Encyclopedia_Brown
Some sort of fictional smartarse from the Colonies, it would appear. [calum, Aug 20 2007]

Graduated Stovepipe http://imagecache2....The-Hat-Posters.jpg
[DrCurry, Aug 20 2007]

[link]






       That's the spirit! (Even if no spirits seem to have actually been utilised or consumed in the creation of this idea.)
jurist, Aug 19 2007
  

       A blinkin' good idea.
marklar, Aug 19 2007
  

       Indeed not. However, you are, I'm sure, aware that this is the halfbakery, where we care not one jot for such fripperies as historical accuracy.
calum, Aug 19 2007
  

       Yes. Historical accuracy is little required, even when the half-baked notion is for a history contest...
globaltourniquet, Aug 19 2007
  

       how many inches does a teenage boy grow in a day?
po, Aug 19 2007
  

       Cumulatively?   

       Credit where credit is due: it would be remiss of me - perhaps even to the point of moral turpitude - to fail to mention the contribution to this fine invention that was made by Jinbish, of this parish. Indeed, without his adaptation of my original "Abraham Lincoln Wedding Theme" idea to incorporate the identical aggregate height element, the CBALSL would never have been thinked of. And so, I propose a toast to the good doctor and wish him a speedy return from his sojourn elsewhere.
calum, Aug 20 2007
  

       yumm, toast...to you both!
xandram, Aug 20 2007
  

       Soooo... that's how he did my croquet lawn. I must apply for an English Heritage grant to reinstate the lads, and their time-travelling hats.
wagster, Aug 20 2007
  

       //how many inches does a teenage boy grow in a day?//
Good point. Better make these stove-pipes telescopic, or, better yet, like a felt-covered bellows.
calum, Aug 20 2007
  

       And here I thought Capability Brown was Encyclopedia Brown's more active, less booksmart brother.
RayfordSteele, Aug 20 2007
  

       Posture would be key.
bungston, Aug 20 2007
  

       ram a rake up their jackets.
po, Aug 20 2007
  

       I was thinking more of reliability of posture than good posture. A plausible Lincoln should stoop, but the degree of stoop should be consistent from measurement to measurement.   

       This could be achieved with a pectoral protractor, concealed beneath the beard. The beard should hang away from the chest at a given an reproducible angle, corresponding to degree of stoop.
bungston, Aug 20 2007
  

       I devoured Encyclopedia Brown as a young colonist. I thought I was the only one who remembered...
globaltourniquet, Aug 20 2007
  

       What did he taste like?
wagster, Aug 20 2007
  

       A donner kebab?
calum, Aug 20 2007
  

       If you distributed the boys fitted with Seussical hats instead, you could use the graduations on the hats as a gauge as to how much to raise or lower the ground.
DrCurry, Aug 20 2007
  

       Careful [calum] don't be dissin on my homey Encyclopedia Brown. I was all up in that Shiznit when I was younger.
jhomrighaus, Aug 20 2007
  

       Agreed, Encyclopedia Brown is the sauce. He only asked ONE QUESTION! And even the POLICE CHIEF wasn't as smart as him!
GutPunchLullabies, Aug 20 2007
  

       + and a big bun for the title, which I just love. (don't know how I missed this one last year!)
xandram, Oct 24 2008
  

       I'm all for historically implausible archaeo-inventions of interest.
Spacecoyote, Oct 24 2008
  

       Yes. +
nomocrow, Nov 28 2008
  

       I am confused, level as is all in the same plane or level as in flat water .
wjt, Nov 28 2008
  

       //(don't know how I missed this one last year!) — xandram, Oct 24 2008 //   

       But...you didn't. Just thirteen annos 'fore yours.   

       [wjt], either or both.
calum, Nov 29 2008
  

       I read this ages ago and thought I had already voted for it.... I have now +
xenzag, Nov 29 2008
  

       I don't think that this system, ingenious though it is, would actually work. The problem is that wherever your hired urchins stand, their 'heightiness', i.e. the distance between the top of their hats and the bottom of their shoes (should you be one of those extravagant, wastrel employers who actually pays high enough wages for your employees to be able to afford shoes, that is), will remain identical. You need to incorporate some method of determining exactly how level the top of the hats are.

I would suggest using some of that piping that's used for making hamster mazes. If you connect each hat to it's neighbour with a length of such pipe and then pour in a few ball bearings (or, if local safety regulations allow, a cupful of mercury might be more in keeping with the hat theme) then, by observing whether or not the ball bearings had a tendency to roll in one or other direction, you could tell how level your surface was.
DrBob, Dec 01 2008
  

       Yes! With the habitrail passing in and out of the hats. This will also ensure rigidity of matrix, which was an issue that was, until I read your anno, good Doctor, vexing me most mightily. Also, in a charming coincidence, one of my fellow members of the New Club was informing me that he has a connexion somewhere in the Levant who finds himself somehow in possession of Bill of Lading which pertains to a container-load of Hg which could be at any British sea-port, I am told, within the fortnight. Most excellent.
calum, Dec 01 2008
  

       Furthermore, by marching the whelps into a suitable pond or lake, one could plot the distance their hats protrude from the water, thus obtaining an accurate survey of the contours of the water's otherwise unfathomable reaches.
zen_tom, Dec 01 2008
  

       //a container-load of Hg which could be at any British sea-port, I am told, within the fortnight//

In that case, this rather splendid idea is not only bakeable but, as it offers employment to otherwise idle workers, could also make a significant contribution to reviving an economy which is currently looking even more battered than the hat of Dr Seuss' excellent cat. Have a bun.
DrBob, Dec 03 2008
  

       "constabularly" - FFS. Five years that's hung there.
calum, Sep 07 2012
  

       //a container-load of Hg //
Or "tuna" as it is more commonly called.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Sep 07 2012
  

       Couldn't you have an option B and they all get different president masks and hats, it'd be the Mt Rushmore spirit level.
not_morrison_rm, Sep 07 2012
  
      
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