Slide rules have come in different formats over the years. The most familiar
is probably the 3-part model with a fixed outer frame and a sliding inner rod, and
a sliding clear window with a reticle line etched into it for aligning numbers (the
cursor). While far from being any type of "collection," I do have a couple nicely
preserved models. The ones from Keufel & Esser (K&E) are at the top of the table below. The Beginner's slide
rule model is very basic with graduations on one side and some conversions on the
other. The best of all is the Pickett N600-ES
Log-Log that is in new condition and actually still has the box, leather case, instructions
and certificate. The Pickett N600-ES is the slide rule model that went to the moon*
with the Apollo astronauts (not the one I own, of course).
few of the cardboard calculators I have are at the bottom. Probably only the VSWR
Calculator from M/A-COM can be considered collectible. My good friend Patrick Fitzgerald
bestowed it upon me when I went to work for him at General Electric right out of
college. I can recall some of the older engineers still using slide rules there
when I arrived in the 1980s. In fact, the first algebra textbook I had in a community
college right out of high school in 1976 had a section in it on how to use a slide
rule. The Sterling 684 plastic slide rule
that I bought at the bookstore is show below. Shortly thereafter, the HP-35 hit
the market and the world changed forever (now that was truly a disruptive technology).
April 2016 Update: *According to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum,
N600-ES did not actually make it to the moon because it was aboard
Apollo 13, which experienced a system failure that required the
crew to do a U-turn and execute manual maneuvers to get home safely.
June 2015 Update: Thanks to generous RF Cafe visitors who either sent me hard
copies or high-res photos of their
Slide Rule Calculators (which I have dubbed The Original Mobile Apps™), the
number has grown so large that they required their own page.
◊ Here is my collection of vintage
Slide Rule Calculators.
Here is the definitive source: International Slide Rule Museum
- Slide Rule Library Archive of books, manuals, instructions and ephemera.
on how to use a slide rule.
◊ Or, try the
Slide Rule Guy
◊ See the The Quick and Easy "Lawrence"
Slide Rule Instruction Book
◊ The Slide Rule Universe - great resource
◊ Visit the
(William Oughtred - inventor of the slide rule in 1622)
Buy new-in-the-box, mint condition slide rules
Standard slide rule - EngCom.net,
Pickett slide rule - Antiquark.com
◊ Here is a website
vintage instruments (slide rules and other instruments of
math, drafting, science, and music)
Pickett N600-ES Log-Log Slide Rule (ES stood
for the 'eye saver' yellow color)
(this is the model that was aboard the Apollo
13 mission and according to
Buzz Aldrin, the one he took to the moon aboard Apollo 11).
According to information from Pickett, my N600-ES was manufactured sometime between
March and June 1959. See "The Great Pickett Slide Rule Apollo Conundrum."
K&E Model N4080-3 Log Log Duplex Trig, S/N 467192, Copyright
1947 Slide Rule
(wooden frame & bar w/metal ends)
K&E Model 4081-3 Slide Rule, S/N 087105
frame & bar w/metal ends)
Sterling 684 White Plastic Slide Rule
(I bought this
for my first algebra class in 1976)
Skala Wilcza 32 Wooden Slide Rule
(Poland)Thanks to Alan Kealey for the donation!
(found in my father-in-law's basement)
Cleveland Institute of Electronics 515-T Slide Rule (made
Thanks to Mr. Joe Hernandez (KN2A), the complete set of four
Institute 515-T manuals is now available here.
This advertisement appeared in the August 1967 edition of Electronics
World magazine. The unique slide rule, leather case, and 4-course instruction booklet
was "...deliberately underpriced at less than $25."
K&E Beginner's Slide Rule, Model 4058C
frame & bar)
Lawrence Slide Rule Instruction Book
Cleveland Institute of Electronics Slide Rule Product Feature
January 1965 Popular Science
Gong Se He Ying
Metalworking calculator for Iron materials
Slide Rule Wallpaper
Click on the image to open it in
a new window, then right-click on it and choose Set as Background
Texas Magnum, World's Longest Slide Rule
(352 feet long, 300
Soviet Slide Rule Watch
Projection Slide Rule