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Old 01-08-2022, 09:56 AM   #1
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Scientific Slide Rule Anyone?

I was cleaning our Knick-Knack display shelves with my teenage granddaughter the other day. She would hold up this and that saying "what is this, Pop Pop?" She picked up my old trusty engineering slide rule and asked the same question. When I explained what it was and how to use it she looked shocked and said "Why didn't you use your phone?"

I was wondering how many of you out there ever used a slide rule? I went through engineering school with it just about the time HP 35 calculators using "Reverse Polish Notation" were just coming out. Due to cost (about $2500 in todays money!)I never got one, but boy oh boy I sure wanted one! Looking at them now, my cell phone can do so much more than that HP- 35!!

Looking at the Nick-Knack shelf, how many things can you identify? Hint, some of items came from my Dad's occupation designing and building radios to support WW2, and communications for the very first space capsules.
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Old 01-08-2022, 10:13 AM   #2
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i've been gradually giving away the slide rules I've accumulated over the years - the one I used in college on the way to my BSME, the one I used for a while after starting work at a Navy Lab in 1974,the ones I inherited from my Dad and some of his colleagues (Dad was an engineering professor, retired in 1984). They make great graduation gifts for engineering majors - I enclose a note explaining that they'll never need batteries, won't need calibration, and can't be hacked - the rest I leave to their imagination and (probably) web searching. I can't quite stomach the idea of giving away a genuine bamboo log log deci trig with (I think) ivory scales so that one remains on my desk - not that I remember how to use it.
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Old 01-08-2022, 11:31 AM   #3
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Got my Post slide rule back in high school in the late '60s. Got it out a few weeks ago and showed my 10 year old grandson how we got through math and science classes back then and he was wide-eyed! We even had a bit of a competition: who could multiply 2 numbers quicker - him with a calculator and me with my trusty slide rule...
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Old 01-08-2022, 12:20 PM   #4
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no slide rule experience, but I did get a HP-41cv back in 81. I initially went to class with a Texas Instruments calculator and the HP, because I was scared of it. Once I got the hang of the RPN, I preferred it. Still have it, I think they go for more than they cost new. So it is an "investment" now
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Old 01-08-2022, 12:58 PM   #5
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I wish I still had my slide rule. I had a great, metal one I bought at Lafayette Radio, of all places. I even tried to find one on eBay and could not find one.

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Old 01-08-2022, 01:16 PM   #6
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I have several. I used slide rules in high school and part of freshman year in college. I paid $65 for a calculator that now the free advertising credit card ones might do more. I took a slide rule to school and the students had no idea what it was.
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Old 01-08-2022, 02:00 PM   #7
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Ah the old Slip Stick. Love those things.
Wasn't allowed to use one in hi school so I asked if I could use an Abacus? That was definitely not appreciated.

I still have my 6" Bamboo Versalog that I carried for years. It was great.
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Old 01-08-2022, 02:57 PM   #8
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Learned how to use one cause I was interested in how it worked.

Wasn't much need in the oil field on a derrick or in the NAVY Engine/Boiler rooms.
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Old 01-08-2022, 03:01 PM   #9
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Used a slide rule in engineering classes back in 69-71. That was when a calculator cost as much as a used car.
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Old 01-08-2022, 03:10 PM   #10
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Wow, that brings back memories. I still have the slide rule that I bought when I started my freshman year in '67 at The University of South Florida. I pulled it out a couple of times a few years ago, and scratched my head trying to remember how to use it. Maybe I can find an explanation on You Tube!
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Old 01-08-2022, 03:17 PM   #11
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I still have a slide rule someplace. My collection also includes my dad's boson whistle from WW2, a bellows camera similar to the one pictured, a piece of core from an NCR315 computer, a sterescope circa 1920 with cards, a box of IBM cards, a bunch ofv4x5 negatives taken by my great uncle around Crater Lake about 1910, and my great aunt's bookkeeping text book from 1897 (hay was .05 per bail). Nothing worth much but all is interestijng.
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Old 01-08-2022, 03:54 PM   #12
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Scientific Slide Rule Anyone?

Originally Posted by Lt Dan
That was when a calculator cost as much as a used car.

I still have the first calculator I ever bought, an HP 45. Yes, I paid the full $400 for it when I was making $3.75 an hour.

RPN, anyone?

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Old 01-08-2022, 04:18 PM   #13
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sold my drum set to buy a calculator when we voted slide rulers out. Inflation adjusted cost: $2397 yikes! Thankfully my engineering degree had a good ROI!
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Old 01-08-2022, 04:45 PM   #14
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I may or may not still have my slide rule around. I got if from some class in high school but never really learned how to use it. I think I was the first student at Eastern Michigan University to have a calculator, a TI SR-11. My uncle worked to TI at the time and he got my dad a pretty good deal on it for a Christmas present. It got stolen about 30 years ago when some kids broke into my house. It couldn't do much but I would still like to have it. As for the stuff in the picture:
Pilots Log Book
Jumper's log book
3 radio tubes
2 meters of some type (I can't make out the writing)
A Zippo lighter (I prefer the covered ones which I still carry on my motorcycle for emergency fires)
3 transistors ???
a deer antler or two
a bicycle horn
a bellows type camera
a wad of solder (probably rosin core)

and a slide rule in the long black box.

That's about it for me, but I'm an old guy.
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