1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Slide Rule??

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Stanford Guitar, Apr 21, 2021.

  1. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,562
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2020
    Location:
    USA
    My son is in engineering school, so for fun, I planned to buy him a slide rule. I thought he'd have fun learning to use one, and it's also a great hands on instructional tool. But......it seems no one makes these any longer! The only ones I could find were vintage on eBay. I can't believe there's not a niche maker of these anymore! Anyone know of any contemporary makers?
     
  2. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,158
    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    Location:
    West Lothian, Scotland
  3. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,137
    Joined:
    May 3, 2016
    Location:
    In the South
    AAT65 beat me to it. Why not buy him a book of log tables too? :)

    Thank the gods for scientific calculators and computers.
     
  4. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,562
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2020
    Location:
    USA
  5. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,562
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2020
    Location:
    USA
    Slide Rules were before my time as well, but learning to use one was fun and actually very useful.....when I was once a chemical engineer!
     
    68Telebass likes this.
  6. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,562
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2020
    Location:
    USA
    With the, 'all things retro are cool' sentiment of the day, I'm actually surprised I can't find a contemporary maker of high quality slide rules.
     
  7. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,137
    Joined:
    May 3, 2016
    Location:
    In the South

    I used one professionally, and like every other engineer back then was quite proficient. Can't say I miss them though.

    If I had to have a retro item it'd be a Casio FX-730P, a programmable calculator from the 80s.

    This is mine, and that's TDPRI reflected in its small, but perfectly formed, screen. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  8. 68Telebass

    68Telebass Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,453
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Arizona
    Had to learn to use one in 8th grade science class. Taught me what and how powerful logarithms are. The physical “seeing” the log scales line up and turn addition into multiplication and subtraction into division was a real “A-Ha” moment for me :cool:
     
  9. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,137
    Joined:
    May 3, 2016
    Location:
    In the South
    Seriously though, get him a pre-owned slide rule. Most were well looked after, and they probably haven't seen much use in a while. Instructional guides to using one are all over the internet.
     
  10. 68Telebass

    68Telebass Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,453
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Arizona
    It is mind blowing to think a $10 scientific calculator you can get in a drugstore has more power and memory than the lunar lander probably had in 1969.
     
  11. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,837
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    A vintage one in a case that could be worthy of display might be nicer.

    My father has a few from his aircraft designing days in the 60’s.
     
  12. Tall-Fir

    Tall-Fir Tele-Meister

    Age:
    69
    Posts:
    222
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, CA
    There is nothing quite like throwing logs around!
     
    String Tree and 68Telebass like this.
  13. blue metalflake

    blue metalflake Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    13,021
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Location:
    ireland
    I still have an old wooden slide rule, given to me by a retiring draughtsman as I was the only one left who could use it!
    In college, we were still using slide rules until the first Texas Instruments calculators appeared. You still had to use logs or slide rule for a cube root though.
    Memories.
     
  14. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    4,515
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    I still have mine stashed in its case somewhere. Slide rules were more or less dead technology when I had to get one for school, but I found it a heck of a lot faster to use than the new programmable calculators that were appearing in the 'posh kids' bags. There were things a slide rule could do, in maths, that an affordable calculator couldn't, and by the time a programmable calculator had been coaxed into the correct operating mode, the button press sequence worked out, and the result displayed, us sliders had finished the question and moved on. Mine'll probably be in a secret stash place next to my scientific and programmable calculators.
    Log tables were a pain. Page after page of densely typed numbers. One's eyes went quite squiffy after a time.

    Ebay is probably the best bet for a decent engineering student level rule.
     
    nojazzhere and dougstrum like this.
  15. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,878
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2017
    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    TI and Casio still make them, except now they come with buttons and a display and no moving parts.
     
    Steve Holt, nojazzhere and AAT65 like this.
  16. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,402
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Location:
    Somewhere Over The Rainbow
    Slide rules! :lol:
    There’s a trip down memory lane.
    I kept my mine for many years. I thought I’d always keep it as memorabilia but it got lost through my many moves.
    It’s hard to explain how you could do so much with it.
    Confession: I doubt I would remember how to use it!:D
     
    68Telebass and dougstrum like this.
  17. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,158
    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    Location:
    West Lothian, Scotland
    And they work out where the decimal point should go, unlike a slide rule.
     
    Steve Holt, JL_LI and Old Deaf Roadie like this.
  18. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,158
    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    Location:
    West Lothian, Scotland
    Well then since this is TDPRI I’ll say ‘why not make your own?’ :p
     
  19. johnDH

    johnDH Tele-Meister

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    318
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2016
    Location:
    Wilton NSW
    I'm 61, and at high school we used them until I was 16, then we were allowed calculators. im thinking very few people under about 55 would ever have used one.

    A 12" sliderule was the go, and with care you could work out maths to about 3 decimal places. Those pocket 5" ones never quite cut it!

    But, for some serious engineering, you needed more accuracy, and the only way to do it with a slide rule was to make it longer.

    In my family, we have a wonderful heirloom, handed down through 5 generations of engineers. Its a slide rule, effectively 40' long! It's spun into a cylindrical spiral form, and looks like a bakers rolling pin. Ours is identical to this one, made in 1898:

    https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_694148

    With it you can multiply two 5-figure numbers, like 1 2345 x 2.3456 = 2.8956

    It first belonged to my great-great-uncle, who as a young engineer worked on the mechanisms that raise Tower Bridge in London. Once you figure out how it works, it's so cool! It's amazing how in the 19th century, the inventor could conceive of such a device, and also make it accurately enough for it to work.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
  20. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,399
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Location:
    E. Tennessee, USA
    Hmmm...I wonder where mine ended up?
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.