8 Vignettes

Stories on the use of certain slide rules and scales, on certain sub-groupings of the Collection’s contents, and on the adventures of collecting are presented below. All stories are based on my own personal quest and only pertain to slide rules that I have collected. It is my hope that these vignettes will help introduce people to the fun of collecting and of learning about how to interpret what is found, and so are organized accordingly in the table below.

Latest Vignettes:

The Acu-Rule from Wabash,   Scale Wars,   The Scofield Engineer’s Slide Rule,   K+E Mystery Rules Update,   Chicago Rules,   America’s Earliest Part II.

Go Directly to the Appendices.
Vignette Title Abstract
1 A Favorite Rule Everyone should have a slide rule that just feels right. The Faber-Castell Model 1/54, a finely-made general purpose Darmstadt rule, fits the bill.
2 Rules to the Moon Pickett earned their place in US space history with their lightweight metal slide rules.
3 The Original 4083 Before the development of the vector slide rule 4083-3, the 1916 K&E model 4083 was an early 16-inch Duplex general purpose rule.
4 K+E Beginner’s Rules Keuffel and Esser sold slide rules designed for beginners almost from the beginning.
5 Chicago Rules Chicago companies played a strong role in the development of US slide rules.
6 A Boykin Discovery Can you only find significant slide rules online? It still pays to visit your local antique stores.
7 The Long and Short of It How the accuracy in calculations using logarithmic scales scales with scale length.
8 Rules of Engravement Slide rules were used in the layout of newspapers and magazines in the last century.
9 Out of Proportions Determining ratios and performing proportions calculations are basic functions performed by a standard slide rule.
10 Power Rules Log-Log scales are used for raising numbers to arbitrary powers. Their scales and use are explained.
11 Fermi’s Golden (Slide) Rule What slide rules did Enrico Fermi use? A family member gives us insight.
12 Rule Change 4092-3 A rare transitional scale arrangement for the K&E Model 4092-3 was just sitting in the collection all along.
13 A K+E Rule of Mystery Certain K&E slide rules with no model number remain mysterious.
14 Lt. Shaw’s 4097D A simple search for a common model uncovers a slide rule very likely owned by a major player in the construction of the first US nuclear warships, the U.S.S. Nautilus and the U.S.S. Enterprise.
15 K+E Mystery Rules Update The earliest date for these rules of mystery just got a little earlier.
16 The Early American Favorite Cleaning of a $10 slide rule reveals a fairly early K&E.
17 American Favorite Part II Further study reveals new insights (to me) into the early K&E American, Favorite, and Mannheim brands.
18 Thacher’s Calculating Instrument Thacher’s cylindrical ‘Calculating Instrument’ (patented 1881) was sold by K&E until the 1940s, yielding the accuracy of a 30-foot linear slide rule.
19 America’s Earliest Slide Rule Palmer’s Computing Scale of 1843 is often given this title.
20 Carpenters vs. Engineers Those folding 2-foot rules with brass slides and logarithmic scales – what are they and how do they differ?
21 America’s Earliest Part II American-made slide rules before Palmer’s Computing Scale? Enter the Belcher Brothers.
22 Kolesch Rules This New York City company sold German import slide rules, including some with special scales.
23 The Scofield Engineer’s Slide Rule With the help of Thacher, a bridge engineer delivers an inexpensive but powerful slide rule at the turn of the 19th century.
24 Scale Wars The K&E Duplex rule introduced in the 1890s was a major improvement to the standard Mannheim. How did other makers react?
25 Dietzgen Rosenthal Nestler Prototype Online images of a $7 Dietzgen for sale just didn’t look right. A Nestler prototype version of Dietzgen’s update to their Rosenthal model was uncovered.
26 The Acu-Rule from Wabash How did a Wabash, Indiana, school supply company come to sell Acu-Rule slide rules, while Lawrence Engineering was making similar items just down the road?
27 Gauging Electro Rules The electro rules were early specialty devices derived from the Mannheim design, and helped introduce log-log scales to modern slide rules.
28 An Early Home-Made Spring Calculation Slide Rule While slide rules for designing springs became available from the major makers around 1950, Baetzmann introduced this one almost a decade earlier.
29 Spring Calcs Eternal Besides illustrating several spring calculation slide rules of various manufacturers, the formulas used are also derived!
30 Helical Slide Rules Accuracy is gained through helical curves on cylindrical surfaces – the Otis King and Fuller slide rules.
31 Stadia Rules Surveyors in the field and office used special slide rules with special trigonometric scales.
32 Following the Balloons Essentially a stadia-type calculation, slide rules were used to compute meteorological parameters through sightings of pilot balloons in flight.
33 Gauging and Excise Tax Slide Rules Ever wonder how to calculate the amount of liquid in that funny-shaped whisky barrel?
34 Slide Rules for the Sikes Hydrometer But, how much of that liquid in the barrel is actually alcohol? And, of course, how much tax should be collected?
35 Getting to the Root You know how to use A&D or B&C to find the square root of a number; but can you solve a quadratic equation on a slide rule?
36 Vector/Hyperbolic Calculations Imagine finding the tangent of a complex number. You really can do this. With a slide rule!
37 Hemmi 153 Scales Now imagine finding the tangent of a complex number through the use of the Gudermannian function. Don’t worry, it’s all explained…
38 British Thornton Special Scales Hard to get that last digit on your S/T scales when the values get close to one? The Thornton Sd/Td scales can help.
39 How Do You Byoutou? A WWII-era Hemmi slide rule was used to train junior officers in the basics of ballistics calculations, including how to lead moving targets.
Go Directly to the Appendices.