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Thread: Do you know how to use one??

  1. #16
    So I’m intrigued to see one of these side rule calculators too. I am must be a little bit too young. As I was growing up we used what was called as a magic square. I use A dozen or so slide rules with different information in the shop every day. Sure, Google search engine has made most of these obsolete.
    C8267B7C-4199-4358-9109-7A0FF7B4837D.jpg

  2. #17
    I went through my entire college career (electrical engineering) with a slide rule - hand held calculators were not really available. We could use the mainframe for certain calculations but, of course, not for tests. I was pretty good on the slide rule and knew how do just about all the different calculations you could do on one. I had my initials put on my slide rule so I could claim mine when we did group study and everybody had the same Post slide rule.

    I still have mine but I doubt if I could remember how to do anything more than multiply on it.

    Mike

    Slide Rule 004.jpg
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 01-17-2019 at 12:17 AM.
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  3. #18
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    My dad taught me how to use one when I was a kid. I doubt I could remember how to do it today.
    Here’s his pre digital age Curta “pepper mill” calculator that I inherited from him. It’s an amazing piece of machinery and pretty valuable to collectors.
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  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    I went through my entire college career (electrical engineering) with a slide rule - hand held calculators were not really available. We could use the mainframe for certain calculations but, of course, not for tests. I was pretty good on the slide rule and knew how do just about all the different calculations you could do on one. I had my initials put on my slide rule so I could claim mine when we did group study and everybody had the same Post slide rule.

    I still have mine but I doubt if I could remember how to do anything more than multiply on it.

    Mike

    Slide Rule 004.jpg
    Mike, thank you and wow! Now you’ve got me wanting one of them.

  5. #20
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    My dad used a slide rule, even taught me a bit on it a looonnnngggggg time ago. For many many years he carried a small 4" circular one in his pocket. He could figure almost anything on it. I think I still have his slide rule, and he used to have (and use) the pepper grinder style as well. He loved his toys...
    Funny, I don't remember being absent minded...

  6. #21
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    One of my slide rules is actually a tie clip. It is a working 2" slide rule.

    jtk
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  7. #22
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    yellow Pickett

    I can still remember the first day of high school physics class, our teacher told us we all had to have one. We gathered around him as he showed us the various models in a catalog.
    We had a couple of days to make a selection and bring in the money, he ordered them at a school discount.
    12" aluminum body with a leather case.
    Later got a another 12" with a plastic body and a 6" one to carry around with me.
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  8. #23
    The one I had in high school in the 1960's was just a plastic one from a local store that sold some more specialized school supplies. The beginning of my Sr. year, I purchased a much fancier one at a college book store in the next town over. a few years later about 1974, I was attending a conference at Bucknell University and ran into an acquaintance who was an engineering student there. (we were on competing rifle teams) He was wearing a leather pouch on his belt almost the size of a cigar box. WTH is that? I asked him. He said it is a new electronic calculator. He was so excited about it. He showed me several of the functions. And it was truly an amazing thing. He had worked all summer just to buy the calculator for his engineering classes. A year later, a calculator that did the same things was a mere $200 and today a $8.00 calculator can do the same.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Hilbert Jr View Post
    The one I had in high school in the 1960's was just a plastic one from a local store that sold some more specialized school supplies. The beginning of my Sr. year, I purchased a much fancier one at a college book store in the next town over. a few years later about 1974, I was attending a conference at Bucknell University and ran into an acquaintance who was an engineering student there. (we were on competing rifle teams) He was wearing a leather pouch on his belt almost the size of a cigar box. WTH is that? I asked him. He said it is a new electronic calculator. He was so excited about it. He showed me several of the functions. And it was truly an amazing thing. He had worked all summer just to buy the calculator for his engineering classes. A year later, a calculator that did the same things was a mere $200 and today a $8.00 calculator can do the same.
    I also have a circular slide rule, required when I got my pilot's training. They probably use calculators now. A friend used a circular slide rule in graduate school when working on his physics PHD - he said he worked it with his left hand with a pencil his right.

    Another piece of slide rule trivia - all the technical classrooms in colleges and many high schools had a huge teaching slide rule on the front wall above the blackboard.

    As for calculators, I once had one with basic scientific functions (and MEMORY) in a cabinet maybe 2' wide and 3' tall with keyboard and nixie tube display. The memory was a big mechanical spiral in the cabinet - a piezoelectric transducer sent vibrations down the spiral representing the number to be stored. A sensor at the end detected the vibrations and a cabinet full of electronics decoded and recovered the number when needed, and constantly refreshed the signals so they would come around again.

    Some info and photos for the inquisitive geek:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delay_line_memory

    JKJ

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Hilbert Jr View Post
    a few years later about 1974, I was attending a conference at Bucknell University and ran into an acquaintance who was an engineering student there. (we were on competing rifle teams) He was wearing a leather pouch on his belt almost the size of a cigar box. WTH is that? I asked him. He said it is a new electronic calculator.
    That timing sounds off: the (normal-size) HP35 scientific calculator came out in 1972. (My senior year, '71-'72, HP gave beta-test units to everyone in the engineering school, and replaced them with production units at graduation.)
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  11. #26
    Might have been as early as 1970, that is when I first started intercolliegate competition where I would have met him. He was on Bucknell's team. I finished in college in 1973. But attended a conference there after graduation, so perhaps earlier.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fitzgerald View Post
    I was using slide rules until the first HP scientific calculators that used reverse polar notation came out. Due to an advertising mistake I got one for really reduced price.
    I have an HP 42S in the desk drawer (RPN) that I've had for about 28 years, and an HP 42S simulator app on my smartphone. RPN lives!
    Jason

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  13. #28
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    I had the great good fortune of an uncle who was a physicist who believed that kids should be taught mathematics before the school system convinced them it was difficult. One afternoon when I was in the 4th grade he told me all about logarithms and how you could multiply and divide by adding and subtracting them. The notion has been intuitive ever since and I used a slide rule from that day until the point in grad school when we could afford an electronic calculator-- a plug-in-the-wall device the size of a shoebox that would only add subtract, multiply, and divide, and cost about $600. A year later the first HP calculators appeared and it was history.

    Another vote for RPN-- I've never figured out how to use the other kind, the order of entry is just wrong. Who thinks "48, now what operation do I want do do, OK, divide, now by what, OK 12 then think again to actually do the operation by pushing equals?" (if all the rest of you think that way, break it to me gently!) For the record, my thought process is "48, 12, divide".

  14. #29
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    I can remember how to multiply and divide with a slide rule, however all else is lost to me.

    My first calculator was an RPN one, then an HP 33E, I'm still using my HP 11C.

    The 11C is theft proof, it sits on my desk at work, and if someone borrows it, they come back with it asking where the equals key is..........LOL.

    HP 11C.jpg

  15. #30
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    Yep, got two. One is my dad’s from college, Michigan State class of 1933. I would be hard pressed to do much more than multiplication now. Last time used professionally about 1970.
    NOW you tell me...

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