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Old style Levels were made with a glass tube of uniform internal diameter that was curved overall to provide a "top" place for the bubble to settle into. If placed on its side there would be not "hump" for the bubble to settle in. Turn it upside-down and the bubble could split in two to settle at the ends.

New Levels are made with a barrel shaped internal tube, so no matter which way the tube is layed, as long as the axis is horizontal, the bubble will settle into the hump in the middle in the same position.
 
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