Jeffrey A. Weiner
DVD: Radar Men from the Moon
ISRG 5433
Whilst Bob was watching "The Giant Mantis" yesterday, I popped my copy of "Radar Men from th Moon" into the VCR. In the first episode, we see Commando Cody (George D. Wallace) holding a simplex rule whilst discussing these mysterious explosions that have been plaguing the local governmental and industrial buildings. I think the slide rule appears on the desk in a few other shot, but I'll have to look.
Warren M. Salomon
Film: From the Terrace
ISRG 5438
In "From the Terrace," Paul Newman handles a slide rule while he's visiting his old aircraft company. He's not calculating anything, just fiddling with it during a meeting. (Not as exciting as "Mantis", however.) There's also a movie with John Wayne, I can't remember the title, where a railroad is being built somewhere in the American West, and Wayne scornfully tells the boss: "You don't build a railroad with sliderules!" (What else would you expect from John Wayne?)
Craig Kielhofer
Film: The Giant Spider Invasion
ISRG 5441
Although there was not a slide rule used by the actors, in the lab of Dr. Langer there was a very nice 7 foot Pickett demo slide rule hanging over the blackboard. I'll have to see the movie again to see if I can determine the model.
Craig Kielhofer
TV: My 3 Sons
ISRG 5441
Steve Douglas being an aeronautical engineer was required to use a slide rule. I have noticed him using bamboo slide rules, since I now need reading glasses I couldn't tell what make. But since I'm a "Pickett Man" myself, let's just say that he was using a B1. The other day I did notice him using a white Pickett metal slide rule. The end plates were a dead giveaway.
Craig Kielhofer
TV: The Brady Bunch
ISRG 5441
Mike Brady being an architect used a slide rule, but since the show was low budget (who else has astro-turf for a backyard) Mike used a plastic Pickett slide rule.
Craig Kielhofer
TV: Dragnet
ISRG 5442
On the old TV show Dragnet, there was an episode where they were in court and they had a math professor testifying. During his testimony he used the slide rule to make a point of something and then when they asked him a question he fiddled with it for 5 seconds and then came up with the answer. just thought I 'd get another sighting in....
Jeffrey A. Weiner
TV: Tycoon
ISRG 5444
(Referring to ISRG 5438: The movie was "Tycoon", and I believe the Duke said "You can't hold up rocks with a slide rule!" Or, at least that's the way I remember it, pilgrim!
James Stephens
TV: First Man Into Space
ISRG 5449
A few weeks back I saw something called "First Man Into Space," late fifties vintage. The first man into space was to havve been a Naval aviator-a Lieutenant-flying a rocket plane dropped from a bomber. The project was run by the pilot's brother-a Commander. I enjoyed the all-Navy operation. In one scene one of the Naval officers in the project picked up and played with his slide rule. Didn't catch the model, butr it was a nice, solid-body type. I like to think that it was a Darmstadt or an Electro. And don't ask me how the movie turned out, I couldn't make myself stick with it.
Jeffrey A. Weiner
TV: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
ISRG 5445
which dealt with a mishap in the Seaview's missle fail-safe and fire-control systems. Both a junior officer and Admiral Nelson were seen wielding slide rules to calculate the rate of rise of an errant missle that ahd to be ejected without letting it breach the surface and detonate.
Jeffrey A. Weiner
TV: Lost in Space
ISRG 5445
I also remember June Lockhart waving a slide rule around in the episode of "Lost In Space" entitled "The Raft", where the Jupiter 2's reactor housing was made into a small spaceship to enable one person to get back to Earth and summon help.
Craig Kielhofer
TV: My 3 Sons
ISRG 5446
To add to my previous posts, there was another My 3 Sons episode where Steve hired a female engineer named "Max", short for Maxine. After the interview when he told her that she was hired, he told her "Don't forget to bring your slide rule."
James Newsom
Film: Mr. Mom
ISRG 5462
Speaking of slide rules and movies toward the end of the use of the slide rule in the mainstream (note that I said mainstream, not use!) a reference to slide rules can be found in "Mr. Mom" in which the character Jinx (played by Jeffrey Tambor) says to Jack (Michael Keaton): "There's nothing I can do about it Jack, there's blood on my slide rule". I thought that to be interesting because the movie was made in 1983.
James Newsom
Film: Fantastic Voyage
ISRG 5462
Has anybody mentioned Fantastic Voyage? A slide rule is used by the General Carter, played by Edmund O'Brian to calculate the time required for the craft to travel through the heart of the patient.
Steven Horii
Film: Apollo 13
ISRG 5467
Of course there was "Apollo 13" with the famous slide rule scene (if anyone doesn't remember the type of slide rule carried on the Apollo missions, my documentation says that it was a Pickett N600ES, but instead of the leather case, NASA had a beta cloth case made for it).
Steven Horii
Film: October Sky
ISRG 5467
I believe, though my recollection may be wrong, that the film "October Sky" had some scenes with slide rules in it.
Michael Sinclair
Star Gate SG-1
Not From ISRG
You must all tune into Star Gate SG-1 religiously, and look for the slide rules. they turn up from time and time in the company of Amanda Tapping (Carter). why does a current show have them as props? because her character is supposed to be old enough to have used one when in school, and because my brother is the props master!
Pearu Terrs
Film: The Dish
ISRG 5495
Just saw an excellent Australian movie called 'The Dish' about a 210 ft parabolic used during the Apollo 11 moon landing. Based on a true story about technical problems but slide rule is used in about 3 scenes. Looked like a Darmstadt 1/54 but not sure. The movie is well worth watching and has had very good reviews and given 4 stars.
Bill Robinson
Film: Are You With It?
ISRG 5779
"Are You With It?" is a 1948 movie starring Donald O'connor as an Actuary who makes a mistake. He is so mortified he leaves Nutmeg Insurance Company. By a chance meeting in a park he ends up joining a traveling carnival. While there he uses his mathematical talents to save the carnival and get back his old job and girl he loves. Two times in the movie he uses his slide rule. The first time was when he had figured out how one of the slot machines worked and hit the jackpot. The script reads; "And he got out his slide rule and checked it against that bit of mental arithmetic." The second time is at the last scene when his soon to be wife reminds him of another mistake regarding his prediction about the weather. It is about to rain, but by now in the course of the movie he is much more relaxed. The script reads; "Vivian gave Milton an accusing look. 'You said it wouldn't rain for three more days.' Milton pulled out his slide rule and started to work at it, then he changed his mind. He shrugged, and then he grinned, and he took Vivian in his arms. 'So I made a mistake,' he said. 'You know, honey, a guy can have an awful lot of fun making mistakes!' "
John Spivey
Film: Apollo 13
ISRG 6346
I just finished watching Apollo 13 for the nth time. There are not one, but two slide rules in the scene mentioned. The first shot shows a 10" duplex (K&E 4081-3, perhaps?) shown lying on the console. The second, closeup shot is a Post 1452W (or equivalent Hemmi model), if I am not mistaken. It certainly is not the duplex shown in the first shot. Can anyone make a more positive ID on either of these rules?
Mike Gabbert
TV: The Tuskeegee Airmen
ISRG 6353
I just saw "The Tuskeegee Airmen" on HBO. The Black cadets who are expecting a white flight instructor get a Black one instead. He explains to them that he is the best qualified instructor because he is the only instructor on the base with any actual combat experience. As he makes this introduction, in the background is one of those 7 ft. demo slide rules. It's white, but I couldn't tell which kind (K+E, Dietzgen, etc).
Norman Kyle
Film: Apollo 13
ISRG 6357
Did anyone notice that the calculation the "Appolo 13" (movie) engineers supposidely performed on their slide rules was an addition?
John Emmonsa
Film: Flight of the Phoenix
ISRG 6366
I was watching "Flight of the Phoenix" with Jimmy Stewart and Hardy Kruger the other day; made in the 60's I believe. Mr. Kruger used a slide rule for his calculations throughout the movie. Can't tell what it is, guessing a Nestler or a Faber. I won't tell you the plot for those who want to rent it; good movie, if a little bit too long.
Joseph Knasinski
Film: Abbott and Costello Go To Mars
ISRG 6367
During the holidays I happened to notice slide rules appearing in two movies. In Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, one of the scientists picks up and pockets a slide rule, but isn't shown using it. In Dr. Strangelove, the mad doctor uses a circular rule for some quick calculations.
John Jarosz
Cartoon: Scooby Doo
ISRG 6368
This really isn't a movie, but my son told me the other day that there is a nerdy character in the cartoon "A pup named Scooby-Doo" that has a slide rule in his shirt pocket. Kind of re-inforcing the stereotype, eh?
Bill Zeilstra
TV: CNN News
ISRG 9229
Interesting lead to an article I just came across: SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) -- Ellen Spertus, a womens' college professor with a doctorate from MIT, strapped her father's slide rule to her thigh and walked away with the title of "Sexiest Geek Alive 2001." The URL is
Bill Zeilstra
Book: Fire in the Sky
ISRG 9448
The following is from *Fire in the Sky: The Air War in the South Pacific* by Eric M. Bergerud (p. 626 HC) -- a quote from Rich Walker, who flew a B-25 strafer for the 5th USAAF 3d Bomb Group. "We would fly on one engine. A B-25 was pretty iffy on one, particularly one of our homemade strafers. They destroyed the balance of the plane by putting all that weight up front and pulling the bottom turret out. That changed the center of gravity. They had a slide rule you were to use to figure out your weight balance. We sat there one day working the slide rule, and hell the slide nearly fell out of the rule. So we threw it away."
Frederick Paul Kiesche III
Film: When Worlds Collide
ISRG 9468
I noticed the use of a slide rule during one scene of "When Worlds Collide". This is a George Pal film based on the classic books ("When Worlds Collide" and "After Worlds Collide"). Early on in the movie one of the main characters is processing data gathered from an observatory in South Africa. She uses a "differential analyzer" (computer) and also uses a reference book and a slide rule (can't tell what kind) to analyze the data.
Fred Kiesche
Film: From the Earth to the Moon
ISRG 10347
I spotted a SR during the chapter called "Spider" of HBO's "From the Earth to the Moon". I was watching this chapter as it is about Tom Kelly, one of the engineers/designers of the Lunar Module. I'm also reading "Moon Lander" by Kelly, a very detailed account of the design of the LM. Interestingly there's a slide rule (white Pickett???) on his desk during the early part of this chapter (where they are waiting for a call on whether they got the contract to build the LM or not). It bounces around when he reacts to the call... No mention of SR's in the book, though. I posted this sighting in the database. If I spot any more, I'll let you know.
Michael Coover
Message: From Earth to the Moon
ISRG 10350
Reference to 10347 Just finished an article on the Concord in this month's Air and Space magazine from the Smithsonian discussing the plane, reasons for the crash in July 2000, and possible future operations. Page 22 states: "Not bad for an aircraft designed when engineers still used slide rules and log tables to figure out supersonic aerodynamics." This followed a discussion on current modifications to the wing and fuel tanks to make them more resistant to punctures from debris.
Ron Manley
Book: The Glass Bead Game
ISRG 25057
The following quote is taken from this book: People know, or dimly feel, that if thinking is not kept pure and keen, and if respect for the world of the mind is no longer operative, ships and automobiles will soon cease to run right, the engineer's slide rule and the computations of bank and stock exchanges will forfeit validity and authority, and chaos will ensue."
Daniel Hayes
Book: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Chptr 19
ISRG 25077
"Now this is going to be your first day out on a strange new planet," continued Eddie's new voice, "so I want you all wrapped up snug and warm, and no playing with any naughty bug-eyed monsters." Zaphod tapped impatiently at the hatch. "I'm sorry," he said, "I think we might be better off with a slide rule." "Right!" snapped the computer. "Who said that?"
Film: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
ISRG 26014
May already have been reported but in the movie "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" there are two slide rules. Neither of which I can identify. But on the DVD version of the movie in chapter 6 (between 29 minutes and 35 minutes). First slide rule is a circular in the right front/bottom foreground laying on table between "Dex" and the radio when Dex is calling the Captain about not shooting the enemy ships. Looks like an old navigators SR. Then a few minutes later there is a liner slide rule under Dex's hands as he works out the transmitters location (Nepal). The SR sort of looks like a Post/Hemmi 1447 or 1452 but the cursor is too wide .
Savid Hecht
TV: The Code Breakers
ISRG 28716
In one of the scenes, one of the students is shown studying with the aid of a slide rule which is laid out on his desk. It appears to be a classic 10-inch duplex model, with white laminated edges: you don't get close enough to get much detail. It appears to be a K&E, or possibly a Dietzgen. 1. Can anyone identify this rule? I'm assuming it would have been a K&E but who knows...the movie is set in 1951. 2. Was there a "Standard issue" or "recommended" SR in use at West Point in those years (or ever)? If so, would the SR shown in the movie have been consistent with it?
Mike Bauser
Film: Codebreakers
ISRG 31617
Recent film on 1950 West Point honor scandal that decimated the football team. Slide rules make a number of appearances, esp. in the earlier part of the film. Some appear to be K&E (as typified by orange leather cases), but no shot close enough (for me) to determine model. A number of scenes where the SRs are props, some in which they are handled. Two interesting scenes: 1. Physics class, students at blackboards do class solution, slide rules neatly - and identically - arranged on their desks. This was how I remember the old days, where SRs were common. 2. A scene to make devout SR collectors tremble - main character, in frustration over difficult physics homework, slams his SR - hard - onto his desk. Appears to be K&E. Decent movie, by the way; I didn't know the details of this incident. DVD extra features footage by ESPN very good.
Mike Bauer
Film: Kronos
ISRG 31617
Another silly 1950s science fiction. Slide rule makes appearance near end, where meteorolgy office makes bombing run calcs for dispersal recommendations of the anti-alien weapon (airborne radioactive particles).
Cyril Catt
Film: Of Love and Shadows
ISRG 7454
In the film Of Love and Shadows, based on an Isobel Allende novel about Chile in the 70s, the hero's father, a civil engineer who fled Franco's Spain with only his slide rule, passes it on to his son when he in turn has to flee the Chilean dictatorship. It appears to be a simplex rule in a green cardboard case, so could be one of several makes.
Film: The Accountant
ISRG 12744
I noticed that one of the Oscar-nominated films in the "Best Live Action Short Film" category is called "The Accountant". Sometime last year there was a short making the rounds on the internet about a guy in an accounting office who used slide rules. During the night he was a reporter for a newspaper along the lines of the scandel sheets. Anybody know if this is "The Accountant"? It would be great to have a slide rule-related film win an Oscar!
Neil Jackson
Film: Apollo 13
ISRG 29479
References 29456. The rule is extremely similar to the Post Universal 1452 & Hughes Owens / Geotec Universal 341 3215, with the inchscale on the bevelled edge and the "c" guagemark near 1.3. However the rule in the film doesn't have any writing visible above the A scale, and the pictures I've seen of these rules do. Is that the normal way to hold a slide rule? The operator moves the slide with the ball of his thumb applied near the middle of the rule. (I move it with my finger tips near the ends, but now I realise I don't know how it's supposed to be done!)
Will Douglas
Film: Apollo 13
ISRG 29415
I 've been re-watching Apollo 13 (which I got for my birthday this year) and I've been trying to identify the slide rule used therein. Actually, there are two SRs seen, but one is a duplex only seen in a long shot, so I have no hope of identifying it. The other is in a closeup, which gives many clues to its identity. I spent many fruitless hours searching the web for slide rules which had a similar scale layout, but didn't find any that exactly matched. It wasn't until the fifth or sixth time I had the SR freeze-framed on the screen that I noticed that it was a pocket rule, not a 10". That helped me narrow it down to about three, but the one I found most closely corresponding to it was the Lafayette 99-7030, as pictured on Mike Konshak's excellent site Slide Rule Museum. The only difference between Mike's picture and the one on the screen is that the one on the screen has a gauge mark at C (1.128) which Mike's picture doesn't have. Does anyone know if this is a more recent Lafayette, or possibly a later version of the Relay/Ricoh OEM rule? Or if someone else made such a rule? I'm just curious. Thanks for any assistance you can render in this quest
Neil Jacksom
Film: Apollo 13
ISRG 29567
The images of the K+E Polyphase No4053-3 that I have been able to find are considerably different each from one another (and the image quality too poor to make a comparison to the one in the film). Do you have picture of one that is similar to the one in the film? I still think the slide rule in the film is extremely similar to the Post Universal 1452 & Hughes Owens / Geotec Universal 341 3215, in particular the 1452W of which there is a picture on Greg's Slide Rules at: As well as having right scales and guagemarks, this rule has the right cursor, and the wide gap between the top of the A scale and the top of the rule is right too. What do you think? By the way, in your initial post on this subject you mentioned two slide rules in the film. I count three!
D A Lemming
TV: Commercial
ISRG 13950
I really don't know how much of the country this commercial plays in, or if it's just the NYC area. It's for an office supply company called "W. B. Mason". The commercial parodies the old detective dramas, such as DRAGNET. It's shot in B&W. The "W. B. Mason low price detectives" enter a warehouse to save the femme fatale from paying too much to the superstores. As they enter the warehouse you can see a sign that says "MODERN SLIDE RULE".
Scott Griggs
TV: Path To War
ISRG 13990
I really don't know how much of the country this commercial plays in, or if it's just the NYC area. It's for an office supply company called "W. B. Mason". The commercial parodies the old detective dramas, such as DRAGNET. It's shot in B&W. The "W. B. Mason low price detectives" enter a warehouse to save the femme fatale from paying too much to the superstores. As they enter the warehouse you can see a sign that says "MODERN SLIDE RULE".
Wayne Brown
TV: Wild Card
ISRG 25006
While channel-surfing Sunday I stumbled across a show called "Wild Card." It appears to be about a detective agency. Anyway, in this episode the client was an amnesia victim who wanted to find out who he was. There was a scene in which two of the detectives were going through the client's possesions, looking for clues to his identity. One of the detectives (a rather attractive young woman) picked up a white plastic rule and said something like, "Ooh, a slide rule! I love these things!" I didn't get a very good look at the rule, but according to the TV listings on Yahoo this episode is supposed to be repeated this Sunday, so I'll get another chance. The episode is titled "Die Die, Who Am I" and it's supposed to be on Lifetime at 11:00 pm Central time Sunday, Oct. 3rd.
Mike Markowski
DVD: Tomorowland
ISRG 40819
I picked up a dvd of Disney's "Tomorrowland" which contains 5 or 6 one hour science tv shows from the 1950s. Wernher von Braun appears in a couple describing how man would one day go to the moon. The shows are surprisingly well done. It was probably at the director's urging, but for a few minutes von Braun was uses a bamboo slide rule as a pointer to indicate which part of the model goes along with his narrative.
Steve Treadwell
TV: Manhattan
ISRG 45269
Anyone watching the TV show "Manhattan"? It's a drama based on the Manhattan project - takes place at Los Alamos. The series premier was Sunday, July 27 on WGNHD. I spotted at least three or four scenes with slide rules, two of them good enough to make at least a tentative ID (I think both of these were in the last half of the show). The first shows a man using a slide rule - the side visible onscreen had a cracked cursor window. From the shape of the cursor frame and the black cursor end bar I think it was probably a Dietzgen - couldn't tell which model. The second showed one of the ratiest looking slide rules I've ever seen with most of the paint flaked off near the slide - from the flaking I'd say it might have been an old magnesium Pickett - also the cursor looked like it had solid metal end bars with the old four-screw Pickett cursor, but I just couldn't get a good enough look to be sure - again, I couldn't determine the model. If it was a Pickett, of course it was an anachronism - I believe Pickett and Eckel wasn't even formed until after the war (and this scene in the movie takes place in 1943). Oh, yeah, they had a room full of girls they referred to as "computers". :-)
Marion Moon
TV: Manhattan
ISRG 45272
See this web site: for a pix of von Braun's slide rule. It appears to be a Rietz-Nestler rule.
Maynard Wright
TV: Manhattan
ISRG 45273
Note that the cursor is missing. I saw a similar slide rule on Von Braun's desk in Huntsville some years ago but I don't know whether it is the same one that's shown here. He might have had more than one. I did when I was using them for engineering calculations and hadn't yet considered the idea of collecting them.
Craig Kielhofer
TV: My 3 Sons
ISRG 5496
As I sit here watching My 3 Sons, having my morning coffee, there was another SR sighting, this one more exciting than other shows. This show deals with Steve showing Chip what he does for a living as an aeronautical engineer, he goes over to the drafting table, picks up his bamboo SR rule and says "Do you want to see how a slide rule works?, you do lots of things with it." A TV character that actually knows how a SR works..........what's the world coming to? lol
Larry Stewart
Film: The Deadly Mantis
ISRG 6522
I was watching "The Deadly Mantis" on our Sci-Fi channel just now and was treated to the appearance of a Versalog SR (Hemmi or K&E because of its "L" shaped end braces). It was being used first by one "scientist" at a meeting in the Pentagon. I roared with laughter because the poor nebbish was holding the Rule very gingerly, as if he thought that it would explode in his hands at any moment! :-) It was ridiculously obvious that he didn't know how to use one. Later in the movie, the main character was actually giving the appearance that he knew how to use it. It makes me wonder though, if only we could look at these shots in a close up, how many Slide Rules would we see being held UPSIDE DOWN! :-)=) If you get the chance, do watch the movie. Those scenes are funny as heck, and overall the rest of it isn't that bad.
Bruce Arnold
Film: The Hunt for Red October
ISRG 8747
"Hunt for Red October" -- Marko Ramius has ordered that they negotiate Red Route 1 at a faster rate of speed than usual. The navigator gets out a circular slide rule to re-calculate the time per leg.
Duane Croft
Film: Unknown Title
ISRG 8766
OK, it's not an actual slide rule, but in a 1906 film taken of San Francisco there's a Keuffel and Esser (drafting and surveying supplies) wagon shown driving through the rubble after the earthquake.
Wayne Harrison
Film: Sliderule
ISRG 8859
Atom films has a short film, "Sliderule", featuring a guy and his desk full-o-slide rules. I have a slow connection and no speakers, so I really haven't a clue what the film is actually about. The protagonist seems to be an auditor, not a classic candidate for a slide rule user. However, he plays with a pickett for a few seconds.
James Stephens
TV: Planes of Fame
ISRG 8928
Then I tuned into 'Planes of Fame', to catch a story on the development of the Navy's A-5 Vigilante. One scene showed an 'engineer' at a drafting table. He did a quick calculation with a slide rule. Couldn't make out the model of slide rule, however I did notice that it lacked a cursor!
Michael O'Leary
Message: Pearl Harbor
ISRG 8932
I mentioned earlier that I saw the movie "Pearl Harbor" last night. There is a scene where Jimmy Doolittle is deciding whether or not to bomb Japan. His assistant pulls out a slide rule to calculate the fuel/distance calculation for him. I could not see what the slide rule was, as it appeared they were faking its presence!
Mark "Adam" Baum
Cartoon: Designs on Jerry
ISRG 9093
MGM Tom & Jerry cartoon "Designs On Jerry" (1953), included on the videotape collection "Tom & Jerry On Parade" from Turner Home Video. "Build a BETTER MOUSETRAP and the world will beat a path to your door." In his attic, Tom is finishing his new mousetrap design. Around him are classic instruments of engineering: a large drafting table with his blueprint design, scales, compass, a nice heavy black pull-lever adding machine and... A slide rule! He even uses it (and the adding machine) to complete a quick calculation for a detail on his drawing. It looks like a ten-inch rule, clearly a duplex with a thick white body, must be a laminated wood or plastic rule. The simple cursor has rounded white indicator bars. Maybe a Dietzgen 1725?
Cthulhu Fatagn
TV: Space 1999
ISRG 10180
I just spotted a Hemmi 253 (the one with the blue plastic cursor and blue-toned middle-slider) in the seventies TV sci-fi series 'Space 1999' first season's last episode titled "Testament of Arkadia". The said slide rule was seen in a 2-second sequence held by Prof Bergman as he sat at a console working over some math whilst travelling to from the moon (adrift in outer space) to a planet called Arkadia which had just snared the aforesaid moon in its gravitational vice (does not make sense? You gotta be a S1999 fan to appreciate this). Selected episodes of the series is now available on DVD from (nope I am NOT - though I would not wish I am! - a shareholder of for plugging their site here!). Curious that a slide rule is still used by the good Prof in the TV series, as a super-sophisticated space-aged looking handheld computer was later seen in the same episode used by a scientist to translate Sanskrit (WOW!) into English!! This clearly implied that even in the fictional background of the TV series, handheld computers are already in use. The good Prof must be a nostalgic guy liks us!!
Bill Lise
TV: Space 1999
ISRG 10181
Reference to 10180. If it has a cursor with blue top and bottom pieces and a blue middle slider, it is the P261 (I am looking at a MIB specimen to verify this). I can't find a 253 in my list, but the _P253_ (Hemmi plastic slide rules tended to have model numbers prefixed by P), of which I have two, is a Hemmi Vectolog. It has a cursor with light-green upper and lower pieces, but its middle slider is the normal white version.
Film: The Cat From Outer Space
ISRG 10191
Last night my wife and I were watching the 1978 Disney movie "The Cat From Outer Space". I had looked down for a second and my wife jumped up and said, "Hey, look, he's using a slide rule!" Sure enough, I backed it up and it was at the point where Dr. Wilson was calculating how much gold he would need to fix the cat's space ship. I tried to figure out what type it was, but was not able to. From the thickness, it looked like a duplex bamboo/mahogany rule. It was nice to see one in use though!
Michael O'Leary
Film: The Hunt for Red October
ISRG 10667
Through no fault of my own, I have not found any slide rules in movies, or on TV:, at least not until now. (I don't have time to watch much TV.) I was watching the movie, "The Hunt for Red October". In the scene where Baldwin is on the Red October, and the Alfa submarine launches a torpedo, Baldwin picks up a circular rule to calculate the trajectory of the incoming torpedo.
Steve Dirickson
Film: The Hunt for Red October
ISRG 10671
References 10667. FWIW, it probably wasn't a slide rule. It was most likely a torpedo-evasion aid: the inner disk has an own-ship image and markings for a set of "evasion zones", the outer disk is marked with angles from 0 to 360. To use it, you set the outer disk to the ship's current heading and set the cursor to the bearing of the torpedo. The "zone" selected determines whether you should turn toward or away from the torpedo, and to what heading.
Beverley Eyre
Book: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
ISRG 10889
"Zaphod tapped impatiently on the hatch. 'I'm sorry,' he said, 'I think we might be better off with a slide rule.' 'Right!' snapped the computer. 'Who said that?'
D. McFarland
Magazine: Forbes
ISRG 10901
If interested in sliderule sightings in MAGAZINES, take a look at the 8 October 2001 issue of FORBES. That is the annual "Forbes 400" issue that features the richest 400 people in America. On page 135, facing Larry Ellison, 4th richest at $21 billion, is a computational device which is incapable of running his Oracle database software: a circular slide rule. It has adjacent C and D scales, and gauge points for converting distance between statute and nautical miles. It also has a scale that starts over at 60, which permits conversion of decimal fractions to 60ths, as in fractions of an hour or minute, and another that starts over at 12. Incidentally, it also has some features lacking on most slide rules, for use in telling time :-) Manufacturer? Breitling. Price? Not mentioned.
Miles Schumacher
TV: Collectible Treasures
ISRG 10933
We often watch several of the antique shows that are on cable on just the chance that a slide rule may show up from time to time. Well, today was the jackpot. "Collectible Treasures" on HGTV (home and garden tv) had one that featured scientific instruments for part of it. The shows a Thatcher Calculator and a Fuller Calculator. The price they gave for the Thatcher was $3500, and for the Fuller $1000. It was nice to see the two they had and perhaps someday...
Michael O'Leary
Film: The Deadly Mantis
ISRG 10951
Okay, it has been a slow night. I tuned in to a dumb movie channel, and found "The Deadly Mantis", which is about an oversize praying mantis that thaws out of the arctic ice and wreaks havoc on America's radar early warning system. In one scene in the Pentagon, a scientist is seen holding what I think was a K&E 4080 or 4090 series slide rule. I could not see the indicator.
Kurt Tate
Film: No Highway in the Sky
ISRG 11001
It's been a long time since I saw this movie so I can't be absolutely sure about this sighting. The 1951 filming of Ernest Gann's "No Highway In The Sky" starring Jimmy Stewart. Jimmy plays a widowed absent minded professor type with a young daughter. He works for a British aircraft manufacturer, and he's convinced that their latest airplane is flawed. I believe there are several scenes with Jimmy working his slide rule for various calculations. The book and film were obviously based on the de Havilland Comet (I believe the plane in the movie was called the Reindeer and was propellar driven). Of course Jimmy is vindicated in the end and gets a new mother for his adolescent daughter. A very good movie.
Edward Jackson
Film: No Highway in the Sky
ISRG 11030
Just a point of information, the movie "No Highway In the Sky" is not an Ernest Gann work. The movie is based on Nevil Shute (Norway)'s novel "No Highway". Nevil Shute was a British engineer who designed aircraft, worked on the design of the R-100 Airship and founded his own aircraft company Airspeed Limited. His autobiography is titled "Slide Rule" and is a must read for those who enjoy the history of technology. He also wrote the novels "On the Beach" and "A Town Like Alice (The Legacy)" which were made into movies, although there were no sliderules in them. Nevil Shute has written over 20 books and his work are very well done and are worth reading. Being a great "Shute" fan I just could not let this pass by. Ernest Gann is a great author who also writes about aircraft and planes and I can see where Kurt could be confused by the movie.
Bob Demers
Film: Dr. Strangelove
ISRG 11380
I've watched this wonderful "black" comedy perhaps ten times and never noticed before yesterday that toward the end of the movie Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers) uses a circular slide rule to calculate how long humans will have to stay underground after an all out nuclear exchange with the Soviet's. Has anyone else caught this?
Craig Kielhofer
Film: Big Boy and Fat Man
ISRG 10199
Last night on Bravo was the movie The Fat man & Big Boy, about the development of the atomic bomb in Los Alemos NM. When the movie first started and all the scientists were meeting, my first comment was "there should a lot of sightings I can report". Froma slide rule perspective this movie fell flat. I didn't see ONE slide rule, either laying on a desk or being used.
Craig Kielhofer
Film: Big Boy and Fat Man
ISRG 11382
I was watching Big Boy & Fat Man last night (about the A Bomb development) and was looking closely to see if I could even see a slide rule, let alone being used
John Sheldon and Kate Maclean
Film: The Dish
ISRG 11392
The first was during a fairly recent movie, set in Australia, called "The Dish", with Sam Neill in it. (He was the crusty paleontologist in the Jurassic Park movies.) It takes place in 1969, when Armstrong walked on the moon, and describes the small town in Australia with a dish that received and transmitted that half of the world's messages to and from the moon mission. In it, one of the characters says the computer could do in minutes what used to take them 5 hours with a slide rule to calculate.
Jim Cerny
Magazine: New Yorker
ISRG 11488
In the current issue of The New Yorker magazine there is a very interesting article on the design of tall buildings, with special emphasis on The World Trade Center towers, including an interview with Leslie Robertson a lead structural engineer when they were built. "The Tower Builder," by John Seabrook, The New Yorker, November 19, 2001, p. 64ff. And the article is online (temporarily) at: In the article the following mention is made of slide rules: Charlie Thornton, of the Manhattan-based structural-engineering firm of Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers, a leading designer of the structures of modern high-rises, said to me recently, "A building like the Empire State Building is way overdesigned and overbuilt. The building didn't need all that support. Those engineers didn't understand loads the way we understand them they used slide rules to work them out, whereas we have computers and so they erred on the side of caution."
Doug Kirchgesle
Film: An Officer and a Gentleman
ISRG 11628
Just happened to catch this movie on cable the other night and the officer candidates were all using some unknown type of slide rule in their aerodynamics class. Not bad for a movie set and filemd in the early 1980s!
Craig Kielhofer
Film: An Officer and a Gentleman
ISRG 11647
Referring to 11629 Actually these were 10" slide rules. From what I saw they appeared to be plastic Pickett SR's. Being a pilot myself, I can suure you that these were not the normal flight SR's.
Magazine: Fast Company
ISRG 11693
The December 2001 issue of Fast Company magazine has an article about a very expensive wall hanging organizer called the Uten.Silo. (Page 42) In the photo the various compartments are filled with quite an assortment of items including a plastic pocket slide rule. I can't tell what brand it is, but the scales are: A / B CI C / D K. The photo can be seen at but it is too small to see even see the slide rule (it's the white blob just over half way up the left side).
TV: Unknown
ISRG 11821
A couple of weeks ago I saw a documentary about a carrier task force in the Persian Gulf. One episode dealt with the accompanying attack submarine trying to penetrate the carrier's antisubmarine defenses and make a simulated torpedo attack on the carrier. One scene showed a sailor at an electronic console with a circular slide rule in his hand. Backup I guess.
Beveley Eyre
Film: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
ISRG 12326
I watched at bit of the movie (not the TV: show) "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea". It had an old Peter Lorre and a young Barbara Eden. One of the early scenes is the captain of the sub struggling to do a calculation with a slide rule. Not sure what rule it is. But the captain is ecstatic with his result.
Larry Stewart
Film: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
ISRG 12333
Thanks to the wonders of modern DVD technology and the ZOOM feature, I was able to get a good close-up of the Slide Rule in the movie "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea". (BTW, It was being used by Admiral Harriman Nelson, played by Walter Pidgeon). Anyway, the Rule is a K&E duplex, from the densityof visible scales, it seems like a trig model. What is most interesting about it though is that the sides of the Rule are wood, not covered in the plastic material that carries the engraved scales. I know that there was only a few Rules that had this distinction, so that should help to narrow the search. I'm not much of an expert on K&E Rules, I'm definitely a Hemmi lad myself! :-)
Ron McConnell
Magazine: QST bReturn of the Slide Rule Dial
ISRG 12432
"Return of the Slide Rule Dial" by Brian Wood, W0DZ, is an article in the 2002 Feb issue of QST, the amateur radio magazine by the American Radio: Relay League. He first explains what a slide rule is. This is probably necessary these days. A K&E 4081 is pictured. In the old days, radio receivers, transmitters and transceivers had frequency tuning dials that were called "slide rule" dials because of their resemblance with the numbers and tuning indicator/cursor. These dials also had lots of useful information like ham band and subband limit markings, prominent shortwave bands and stations, etc. When fully digital synthesized equipment came in, the dial was replaced by just the frequency in decimal digits. This is much more accurate in frequency than the old style dials, but the ancillary information was gone. Brian missed this and decided to get it back. He's programmed a "slide rule" type dial PC display for his fancy new digital Yeasu FT-1000MP ham transceiver. He wanted to "restore some of the 'humanity' to our technological marvels." Neat. Not all change is necessarily progress. :) Occcasionally, it is a good idea to look back and see what might have been lost.
Art: Microsoft Clip
ISRG 12448
While searching for some clip art, I accidentally came across a couple of slide rule icons in Microsoft's online repository. You can access it by clicking on the "Clips Online" button of the Insert ClipArt dialog box in any of the office applications (and then download the ones you want into your computer), or go directly to: They have one listed under "slide rulers" (sic), and a better one under "measuring sticks". Alas, someone should explain to them the usefulness of log scales and cursors, but I suppose I shouldn't quibble.
Mike Gabbert
Magazine: QST
ISRG 12491
The hams among us may have seen this already, but the current (Feb ,02) issue of QST magazine has the picture of a Decitrig on p. 33 in a story about radios w/slide rule dials.
Larry Stewart
TV: Enterprise
ISRG 12739
Last night during the new episode of "Enterprise" (the episode called "Shuttlepod One") Commander Tucker tells Lieutenant Reid to "look out at the stars, figure out where we are and set a course for Echo 1". Reid in frustration replies: "You haven't got a sextant with you by chance, have you?" Tucker replies: "No I don't. I left it at home with the Slide Rule!" Perhaps they should learn from that mistake for the next time they're marooned in a small shuttlecraft where everything is malfunctioning and they're only a few days from dying. Buzz Aldrin had it right! :-)
Roger Huffmaster
TV: Enterprise
ISRG 12746
Reply to 12739 This is why the Apollo astronauts had slide rules aboard (Pickett N600s, I think), and the early shuttle flights had HP-41Cs with the back-up retrofire calculation program!!! Would be interesting to know if they have a HP-48 or -49 or (gasp) a TI-89 for that function now. Ooops, sorry, this isn't a calculator board.....
Rusty Haight
Film: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
ISRG 12755
Probably the most frequently recurring role for the SR on TV: seems to be - appropriately enough - on the SciFi channel. They show the old "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" series (weekday mornings here in California, check your local cable listings...). Never fails, Richard Baseheart is asked "Admiral, how long (do we have...does the earth have...until the bomb explodes...until the core melts down...until the giant squid devourers the Seaview...)" and he grabs a slide rule off the plotting table, moves the hairline once and says...(commercial break) I suppose you'll have to tune in to find out what he calculates THAT time... :-0
Carl Schwent
Film: Race to Space
ISRG 13277
Has anyone seen the new movie 'Race to Space'? It's about a 12-year- old boy who helped train chimpanzees for NASA in the '60s. ("Based on true story" - loosely.) I haven't seen it, but a newspaper review included a photo that showed the boy with a slide rule. It looks like a (possibly plastic) duplex or half-duplex.
Cyril Catt
Magazine: New Scientist
ISRG 13362
This week's New Scientist has a picture of a 'slide rule' that was used in the late 1800s to ensure British convicts doing hard labour got their appropriate time on the treadmill.
Game: Medal of Honor
ISRG 13390
I sighted no less the three (count 'em) slide rules in Electronic Arts' new PC action game, "Medal of Honor." The game is a first-person shooter set in World War 2 European Theatre. The slide rules are part of the details found in a secret (& fictional) German U-Boat research facility. I captured & cropped the screen shot & you can view this "cyber version" of a slide rule in the "Files" section (filename: pc game slide rule.jpg). Doubtless the artist modeled this slide rule from a real subject. Can anyone care to make a guess what make & model slide rule this is supposed to be? This jpg is at the best resolution my machine could handle.
John Jarosz
Film: S.A.C.
ISRG 13545
AMC has "S.A.C." with Jimmy Stewart on this month. About 1/4 the way thru the film he is in the big bomber (4 jets + 6 radials; I forget the Name) talking to all the crew. As he approaches him, the navigator briefly holds up a Jeppesen flight computer. I imagine this counts as a slide rule. It's very quick, but you can see it pretty clearl
Jim Cerny
Magazine: New Yorker
ISRG 13653
In the April 22 and 29, 2002, issue of "The New Yorker" magazine, there is a profile ("The Mogul Mayor") of Michael Bloomberg, the recently elected mayor of New York City, who is rated by Forbes as the 72nd richest person in the world. In a thumbnail recap of his early days, they report: "The Medford High School [MA] yearbook records that in 1960 he was president of the Slide Rule Club."
Miles Schumacher
TV: Win Ben Stein's Money
ISRG 13771
I came across a slide rule sighting today. While watching, "Win Ben Stein's Money". It was a special dating episode. Strange, but he is an interesting character. Anyway, along with the date came a great prize...a Ben Stein pocket protector, three pencils, and a slide rule! It looked like it was a Pickett N200-T. Certainly not high end, but it was real nice to see the slide rule on TV just the same. Too bad it wasn't a Post 1461 or similar though.
Rusty Haight
TV: Tomorrow's World
ISRG 14029
While here in the UK this week I worked with the BBC show "Technology Tomorrow" (sorry, I may have the name wrong but I'm packing this AM to leave for Holland and the show's name is at least similar to that). The show airs in the UK next Weds night 29 May at, I am told, 1900hrs / 7pm. Someone more familiar with it here in the UK may want to advise the right name and air time if I got it wrong. We don't get that show often in the US.... ;-) Anyway, the significant part re this forum is the "sighting." Throughout most of the day, I wore my ISRG ballcap (indirect shameless plug for the group on the BBC!). While I didn't get a chance to actually break out a slide rule during the day, although I had one on hand, I just got too busy, I did mention that what we were doing could have been done on a SR so this may not be a direct SR Sighting, but, via the logo, it is fairly close. One of the broadsheets was there as well and they were working on an article for future publication. Their photog only asked me to shed the hat once but took a lot of pictures, so that should count as another sighting. When I hear about that publication date and confirm the paper's name, I'll advise.
David McFarland
Magazine: Los Angeles Times
ISRG 14035
The Los Angeles Times this morning (Sunday May 26) has an image of the circular slide rule for calculating effects of nuclear bombs. It is part of a collage to illustrate the lead item of the Opinion Section (page M1), an article comparing current US foreign policy with cold-war era policy. The image is in authentic color (white and blue-green) and full-size (5.125" diameter), but not fully legible, although the main label, "Nuclear Bomb Effects Computer" is quite clear. It is very similar to one in my collection, but is blank at a position on the rim where mine says "Designed by the Lovelace Foundation". Related question: The notation on my specimen is the only thing I know about the Lovelace Foundation -- plus the assumption that it was named for Ada. Does anybody have more information on that Foundation?
Four Weis
DVD: NASA Benefits of Space
ISRG 14182
NASA has a traveling "Benefits of space show". They stopped at the Herndon Festival this weekend and they showed a brief video of von Braun pointing to a rocket model with a white slide rule. They also showed some of the products spun off from the space program - including the carbon fiber handball racket. . . .
Jim Cerny
Book: River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life
ISRG 14298
I thought some might be interested in this quotation from Richard Dawkins's 1995 book, "River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life." Dawkins brings up the idea of reverse engineering as a way to try and deduce why an animal has certain attributes or behaviors. Dawkins selects the slide rule to illustrate this: "The slide rule, talisman until recently of the honorable profession of engineer, is in the electronic age as obsolete as any Bronze Age relic. An archaeologist of the future, finding a slide rule and wondering about it, might note that it is handy for drawing straight lines or for buttering bread. But to assume that either of these was its original purpose violates the economy assumption. A mere straight-edge or butter knife would not have needed a sliding member in the middle of the rule. Moreover, if you examine the spacing of the graticules you find precise logarithmic scales, too meticulously disposed to be accidental. It would dawn on the archaeologist that, in an age before electronic calculators, this pattern would constitute an ingenious trick for rapid multiplication and division. The mystery of the slide rule would be solved by reverse engineering, employing the assumption of intelligent and economical design."
Ronald Manley
Book: River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life
ISRG 14308
Refers to 14298 Jim This quote from Dawkins is actually quite a telling one. In Darwin's "Origin of the Species" one phrase he uses often is "Natura non facit saltum" (Nature never makes a jump). According this paradigm evolution proceeds by minute changes. [Bear with me - the slide rules are coming up next.]Stephen Gould proposed another model called "punctuated equilibrium"; in this paradigm evolution is a combination of sudden changes followed by periods with slow development. Dawkin's has reservations about punctuated equilibrium. Let us consider the evolution of the slide rule. The 16th and early 17th centuries were a period of rapid mathematical "climate" change; decimal numbers had become widely used and logarithms had been invented. Advances in astronomy had increased the need for arithmetic calculations. Methods of calculation up to then were very crude. Then came the slide rule. It was not a small evolutionary step from earlier methods – it was a radical departure. Over the first 50 or so years there was rapid evolution then the development was more gradual. With the invention of the log-log scale in 1814 the conceptual evolution of slides rules was almost complete. Further evolution was largely, though not entirely, in response to improvements in materials. Moving on the demise of the slide rules. What brought them to an end was electronic calculators. Again there was no evolution from slide rules to calculators. In short, the slide rule, used as an exemplar by Dawkins, fits perfectly with the "punctuated equilibrium" model of evolution but not with the more classic model he espouses. Regards to all
Ted Hume
Film: Path to War
ISRG 14352
A sighting to add to the list....... Perhaps the most recent film footage of a slide rule in use..... For Craig Kielhofer and others...... While watching TV: one evening this week on a trip to New Mexico, in the recently made for TV movie "Path To War".... about President Johnson..... a technical advisor of some sort.... in a tense strategy meeting about troop commitments and casualties in Viet Nam.... pulled out a slide rule to calculate quickly the number of troops, while the others waited for his answer. Except that Donald Sutherland as Clark Clifford, who had an affinity for math, and who became Lyndon's Secretary of Defense after Robert McNamara, mentally calculated and stated the number.... 60,000.... before the slide rule user stated, "57,600". It was an interesting bit of irony......... -- The actual quickness of the slide rule results. -- The unnecessary accuracy of these results (the technical fellow considered the accuracy to be relevant and Clark clifford was interested only in an answer to the nearest 10,000). -- The fact that the slide rule results were TOO accurate.... quite the opposite of our usual idea. -- The fact that the slide rule results were too slow for Clifford.
D. A. Lemming
Magazine: Newsday
ISRG 14643
In today's Newsday (a Long Island, NY newspaper) there was an article about the 100th anniversary of arguably the most important invention of the 20th century. The article was a recollection of the inventor by his neice. In the second paragraph she recalls: > "He was sitting there with a notepad and his ever-present > slide rule," she says. "I asked, 'What are you doing out > here, Uncle Willis?' He looked up and said, in all > seriousness, 'Trying to figure out the size of a drop of > water.'" For the whole article:
Jeff Harper
Film: K-19 The Widowmaker
ISRG 14767
My wife and I got a baby sitter for the evening and went out for dinner and a movie. We saw _K-19 The Widowmaker_. It's a movie about the first nuclear ballistic soviet submarine in 1961. There is a brief scene showing a slide rule on the upper right hand corner of a table. It didn't show the rule up close, but if I had to guess, I'd say it was a Hemmi. Unfortunately, this was probably the highlight of the movie to me. The movie portrayed Captain Alexei Vostrikov (played by Harrison Ford) as a reckless nut. Also, the movie beat the cliché of soviet bureaucratic incompetence to death. This kind of turned me off. By the middle of the movie, I decided that a historically accurate description of the K-19 without all of the extra dramatic stuff would have been more exciting.
Frank J. Beafore
Film: K-19 The Widowmaker
ISRG 14993
The new movie, K19, The Widow Maker has a slide rule in a scene where the navigation officer is calculating a heading. The scene was too fast for me to recoginize the ruler.
Michael Wei
Magazine: Wall Street Journal
ISRG 15037
The Wall Street Journal - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2000 - Page D1 "Beyond the Slide Rule" by Pui-Wong Tam Basically described all of the new electronic gadgets being pushed for school age kids. There was no mention of slide rules after the title.
Four Weis
Film: The Manhattan Project
ISRG 15059
Last Sunday Night on the Discovery Channel The Manhattan Project was shown, with slide rules displayed prominently. Unfortunately it started at 10 PM and old timers like me tend to fall asleep in front of the TV:.
Mike Gabbert
ISRG 15239
Today I was at the post office, and one of their posters caught my eye. This poster promotes a contest, "Tell us, in 125 words or less, how Postal Service products have helped your business." This poster has a young Asian man sitting at a desk, looking at the camera (viewer) and doing some calculations with what definitely looks like a slide rule. This slide rule appears to be made of mahogany much like a Keuffel & Esser rule, but without a cursor. I believe this contest lasts until mid-October so the next time your at the post office, check it out.
Charlie O
TV: Spirit of America
ISRG 15410
A couple of weeks ago on The History Channel was a story about Craig Breedlove's Spirit of America car. At the end was a brief glimpse of a slide rule in his hands.
Charlie O
Magazine: Atomic Energy Commission
ISRG 15410
I just got a copy of "The First Reactor" published in the 60's by U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Has story of Fermi doing calcs with his slide rule and predicting the location of the needle on the graphing machine. Dec. 2. 1942 was the first sustained atomic reaction. There's a photo of Fermi holding a duplex rule but the angle doesn't allow for good view. Size of a K&E 4070.
W C Toentgen
ISRG 15424
Gentlemen, I believe the mention of a slide rule in a nationally syndicated cartoon qualifies as a true sighting: *Get Fuzzy* by Darby Conley on 19 September 2002. Find it at:
Film: Destination Gobi
ISRG 15466
Movie: Destination Gobi (1953) Staring Richard Widmark, Don Taylor, Casey Adams. United Stases Navy operating a weather station in the Gobi Desert during WWII. One of the operators had a slide rule in his hand.
David Barton
Book: Have Space Suit, Will Travel
ISRG 15482
Fred Kiesche writes: John Brunner's "Stand on Zanzibar" was published in 1968 and made a big splash on the SF scene. It portrayed a world of the nearish future (then), set in 2010, and containing scenes across the whole planet. Well, if we're going to go back that far, "Have Space Suit, Will Travel" had a very prominant reference to a slide rule. Has that been mentioned? When rescued, Cliff sees his slide rule on his bureau and wants to check some of Peewee's calculations. Of course, it's a dummy.....
Bruce Arnold
TV: History Channel
ISRG 15487
Tonight on the History Channel there was an advertisement for a show on plumbing to air Tuesday evening. Near the beginning and again at the end, there is a fellow in a white shirt and tie, manipulating a slide rule - it goes by quickly and the picture quality is only so good, but what I can see of the cursor and end braces suggests the Decilon.
D. A. Lemming
ISRG 15498
You know, I think we need some ground rules here. 8) I mean, R.A.H. was my favorite author. Really. Finding SR sitings in an R.A.H. novel is not much of a challenge. Heck, he's got a re-occuring character _named_ "Slipstick". Generally having a SR siting in pre 1970 SF just isn't very challenging. It can be rather amusing, the assumption that SRs would continue in the future. A good example was a Jack Vance novel with the protaginist calculating his hyperjumps on a slide rule. 8)
ISRG 15509
Just popped in for moment while recuperating from bypass. I seem to recall that Clif Simak in "City" had reference to slide rule being accidentally dropped down disposal/disintegration chute. Pretty funny now, considering that the "spindizzy" technology was the basis of the novel.
Fred Kiesche
ISRG 15521
Refers to 15509 Errr...I think you are remembering the "Cities in Flight" stories of James Blish. That was the one with "spindizzy" technology (anti-gravity) that allowed (for example), Manhattan Island/New York City to be flown as a FTL spaceship. I recently re-read the stories that were collected under the title "City" by Clifford Simak and I don't recall any slide rules involved, let alone any being dropped down a disposal chute (exotic or otherwise). On slide rules in SF, I actually think it makes sense to have slide rules on spaceships. What happens if the system goes down? For a good story involving faulty computers and ancient technology, see Arthur C. Clarke's "Into the Comet"...
Fred Kiesche
Radio: Commercial
ISRG 15537
Well, this has to be the strangest sighting of all... I've been unpacking my new office (moved down the hall), and had the radio on, half listening to an oldies station. A commercial came on for "Ridgedale Mazda" (could be NY or NJ). In talking about the "great financing", the announcer said " put your slide rule or your calculator away and come down and check it out for yourself..." I kid you not.
Ron McConnell
ISRG 15658
The Acme Klein Bottle site has a slide rule as the backdrop to a Klein bottle on its home page. (See Oct 8, 2002 - Discover Magazine.) The picture isn't very clear, but I think it's a K&E. If you hold the mouse cursor on the slide rule, you are informed, "A slide rule behind a big classic Big Klein bottle" "Need a zero-volume bottle? Searching for a one-sided surface? Want the ultimate in non-orientability? Get an ACME KLEIN BOTTLE!" "With its circle of singularities, an Acme Klein Bottle can be said to exist inside of itself -- especially handy during time-reversals." In addition to Klein bottles, flasks and hats, you can also buy Klein steins. The Chinese Spouting Bowl also looks interesting.
Cthulhu Fatagn
Magazine: Traders World
ISRG 15661
SR Sighting!! On the front cover of the current issue of TRADERS WORLD magazine a modern circular slide rule. See Any idea what is it for?
Ted Hume
Film: The Hunt for Red October
ISRG 15734
Watching again this past weekend the great 1990 movie "The Hunt for Red October", I noticed the Russian submarine navigator, in response to a command from Sean Connery as Captain Ramius, using a circular slide rule to calculate a course correction. Best line in the movie : "I would like to have seen Montana".
Jerry McCarthy
TV: Star Trek
ISRG 15741
Approx two weeks ago, "The Enterprise", the latest-to-be-produced Star Trek, had two characters marooned in a shuttle where they were in need of some navigational assistance. One asked the other "Where's your sextant?". The other replied "I must have left it with my slide rule" (Both quotes approximate)
Henry Schadt
TV: Star Trek
ISRG 15742
Refers to 15741 There is a sighting in the original series, I think episode 3 or 4 I'll have to check. Mr. Spock was sitting at his station computing a 'time to event' using a small circular slide rule affixed to a rectangular box.
Francois Boucher
Cartoon: Little Boo Boo
ISRG 15767
I just came upon a slide rule in a Looney Tunes WB cartoon that I saw on TV:. "Little Boy Boo", from 1954, starring Foghorn Leghorn & Miss Prissy. In this episode, Foghorn, trying to obtain Miss Prissy's favors, takes her nerdy son Egghead Jr out to play, and tries to teach him baseball. Obviously the kid (...pardon me: the chick...) knows nothing about the sport, but is eager to approach the issue scientifically. When he is assigned to pitch the ball to Foghorn, he takes out his slide rule ( has only a slide and one stator... can't fogure out the model!;-) to calculate the ballistics of his ball. When he throws the ball, it goes so fast that it passes right through Foghorn's bat and the trunks of a number of trees behind the batter... It is hilarious!
Marion Moon
TV: Good Eats
ISRG 15995
I saw a slide rule momentarily on the Alton Brown "Good Eats" food show on Food Network last weekend. He was talking about the highly non-linear ratio of water to rice as the volume of rice is increased. Then he whipped out of a drawer what appeared to be an K& E rule, and quickly running the slide and cursor back and forth, saying something to the effect that one could resort to calculating the amount of water needed but it probably wasn't worth the effort. This may have been a repeat as I think the copyright date at the credis was 1999. I think Brown is very funny and informative guy but I have to wait until my wife is out of the room to watch it.
Fred Kiesche
ISRG 16139
Anybody ever come across a slide rule reference in the TS Sr. or Jr. books? Yes, many. As a matter of fact, Tom Jr. was forever pulling out a slide rule to perform calculations. Tom Sr. did so occassionally. Here is a list of instances in which a slide rule was mentioned: Tom Swift Among The Fighters Fighters (chapter 21) Tom Swift and His Chest Of Secrets (chapter 8 - I believe this one involved one of Tom's employees) Tom Swift and His Atomic Earth Blaster (chapters 3, 4, 8 and 10) Tom Swift and His Outpost In Space (chapter 19) Tom Swift on the Phantom Satellite (chapter 16 - Bud cracks that they should break for the night or Tom will be slaving over a slide rule all night) Tom Swift in the Race to the Moon (chapters 3 and 6) Tom Swift and His Space Solartron (chapter 5) Tom Swift and His Electronic Retroscope (chapter 6) Tom Swift and the Cosmic Astronauts (chapter 8) Tom Swift and the Visitor From Planet X (chapter 6) Tom Swift and His Electronic Hydrolung (chapter 14) Tom Swift and His Megascope Space Prober (chapter 4) Tom Swift and the Asteroid Pirates (chapter 7) Tom Swift and His 3-D Telejector (chapter 5) Tom Swift and the Mystery Comet (chapter 8)
Fred Kiesche
ISRG 16202
This second sighting is more in line. I've acquired several hardcover's recently of Robert A. Heinlein's young adult novels. Today in the mail I received a copy of his "Have Space Suit--Will Travel. In general, it's in excellent shape; if it were not for a few identifying marks and a "library card pocket" in the back, it could have just come off a bookstore shelf! Anyway, the "author's picture" in the back flap shows the studious looking Mr. Heinlein, dressed in what appears to be two shirts and an undershirt (or maybe the outer layer is a jacket). He is sitting in front of a fireplace. There is a typewriter on the desk. Also on the desk is a "star globe". And in his hands is a slide rule! You can tell what kind, etc., but I would put the length at 12". There are, of course, slide rule mentions within the book, but I believe that we've covered RAH in the past, so I won't bring them up again.
Michael O'Leary
Book: Harry Potter and the Chanber of Secrets
ISRG 16405
Saturday, my family went to the theater to see the second Harry Potter movie. Besides liking the movie and the books immensely, I wanted to see what was in Professor Dumbledorr's office. Sure enough, there was a 10 inch Mannheim slide rule lying on a table (or was it the desk?) as the camera panned around the room when Harry Potter walked in. what surprised me was the lack of a Thacher and a Fuller!
Cthulhu Fatagn
Magazine: Smart Investor
ISRG 16465
Latest SR sighting - current Nov 2002 issue of a Singapore magazine "Smart Investor" shows a yellow plastic body Pickett Microline 120 ES. See URL :- Here's the howler:- The cover shows the slide rule UPSIDE DOWN!! Either the cover artist does not know how to use a slide rule or this implies that the magazine writers/editors do their sums upside down! Not very confidence-inspiring as they seem to hold themselves out as expert investment advisors! Gosh!! The picture on their website is actually too small to be seen clearly. The above remark is made after i have personally examined the hardcopy edition. Wait for the pix on the lower right hand corner to load! Anyone wanting a full sized pic can try emailing their editorial staff whose contact emails can be had at :-
Cthulhu Fatagn
Magazine: Smart Investor
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Further to my earlier message I have gone out to buy an issue of this magazine which shows a Pickett Microline ES featured upside-down on the front cover of a Singapore-published investment magazine! Anyone wishing to have its scanned cover in .jpg format can email me on this channel (remove the spaces from Cthulhufatagn @ Hotmail . Com). This sighting is significant for a number of reasons:- (i) Picketts are almost certainly NEVER retailed in Singapore / Malaysia. So where did they get a picture of it and why did they decide to use a Pickett instead of a Faber or a Staedtler-Mars or even a Flying Fish (makes and models available locally)? (ii) the dang thinggy is shown upside-down on the cover which says a helluva lot about the editors' math ability or their appreciation of what the hell a slide rule is for! (iii) anyone has any idea how a Pickett microline slide rule can be significant in investment/financial analysis? Any monetary formulae requiring slide rule math? Regards and have fun people
Marion Moon
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For some pathological reason, some silicon gulch area shop is selling glass klein bottles among other things. Their paper advertising sheet as well as their web site has a picture of their bottle displayed with a slide rule which appears to be a Versalog. See
Fred Kiesche
ISRG 16656
Found a couple of references to slide rules in one of Stephen Baxter's "alternate history" SF stories. The complete text of the story ("First to the Moon!"), written by Baxter and Simon Bradshaw can be found here: (...and hopefully Yahoo will not screw up that link!) Here's some of the relevant text. I recommend the full story, it was pretty good, I thought. FPK3 ==CLIPPINGS BELOW== Marsh could feel the reassuring mass of his slide rule at his belt. That battered old instrument, the slider carefully greased at least once a week, had been with him since his first day in the shipyards of his native North-East as a technical apprentice and every step of his long journey, all the way to the threshold of the moon. In his mid-20s he had been lured down to London to take an engineering degree at Imperial College. Despite his sour relations with the other students - mostly southern-based, fashionably quoting German - he had had little trouble graduating with distinction, and had moved on to the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, where he had become an expert in the new field of space engineering. As the great lunar programme had been assembled, Marsh had battled to become one of the King's 'new Brunels'. He had survived a long and fraught selection process, where his obvious technical superiority had overcome the handicap of his background, his accent and his 'sullen attitude'. And now here he was, on his way to the moon. He did wonder, though, if Von Braun's mighty rockets required slide rules to guide themselves into space and back. ... Marsh's key role during the four-day lunar flight was navigation: to figure out where the ship was and where it was headed. With his small telescopes and sextants he took fixes on stars and on features on the earth - notably flares sent up from the planet's night side, with pinpoint timing and placement, by a small fleet of Royal Navy vessels scattered around the globe. The observations made, he got on with his analysis, using log tables and a hand-cranked calculator. His calculations were basically data reduction to convert his sightings into a form compact enough for easy Morse transmission. The big computers at Manchester and Bletchley would do the real number-crunching, factoring his data in with that from the micrometer-measured photographic plates that charted their celestial progress. It took an hour's intense labour. Marsh finished by cross-checking the result against his rough slide-rule estimate, then summarized it on a message form. In little over two hours, back would come any required course correction. It was satisfying, stretching, absorbing work. ... Without a cable of the kind Forbes had carried, they couldn't communicate. Marsh went back to the wreck. It turned out to be easy to push aside huge sections of the crumpled life-container. Marsh was clumsy in his suit, but he was strong as a giant on this little world. The life-container's lower compartment held equipment for the exploration of the lunar surface: seismographs, magnetometers, spring balances for measuring the moon's gravity, geology hammers and sample cases, even a couple of cine cameras. None of it a blind bit of use now, of course. He did find his slide rule. But the lubricant had evaporated, and the slider was jammed. .... Good story!
Roger Huffmaster
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How many types of slide rules need to be "greased"? Could it be that a Pickett was first to the moon in this alternate history as well????
Larry Stewar
ISRG 16881
I received the first box set of the british series "UFO" for Christmas and in episode 2 "Computer Affair" Commander Straker is using a Slide Rule. It is a BRL Rule. The reverse side is blank and no shot appears with the front of the Rule, so I can not provide the model #. >From the width of the Rule, I would guess that it matches my BRL #2 Log-Log one. Needless to say that I smiled very broadly since the computers are letting UFOs get through to Earth and Straker resorts to his trusty Slide Rule to figure out what the h*ll is happening! Truth in TV:? :-)=)
Fred Kiesche
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Refers to 16881 Like Larry, I recently picked up the UFO collection (sure hope box two comes out soon!). I also picked up the "mega-boxed-set" version of Gerry Anderson's "Space: 1999" series. Every now and again you spot somebody carrying an odd looking clipboard in the show (usually the character Paul Morrow). It seems not only to function as a clipboard, but also has both a slide rule and a stopwatch on it! And, IIRC (although I haven't gotten through all the episodes yet!), the character Professor Bergmann uses a slide rule (free standing, so to speak) on a few occasions. Both shows attracted me more for the models and SFX than for the stories. That's still true, but I think I now have added in a appreciative "camp" factor...
Cthulhu Fatagn
ISRG 16892
SR reference Sighted in Calvin & Hobbes. Anyone wants a scan of this cartoon email me cthulhufatagn @ hotmail . com (eliminate the spacing here) with a message titled "I want the Calvin & Hobbes slide rule cartoon". I will compile the emails addresses of people interested and send it off as one mass mailshot on 11 Jan 2003.
Cookie Monster
TV: The Simpsons
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The Simpsons. I do not know the episode name but it is the one about Abe Simpson and Mr Burns being in the same wartime unit (HellFish) and they steal some paintings. Anyway, current dayt Mr Burns hire an assisan to kill Abe who uses a slide rule in the limo while plotting a method to kill Abe. Colin.
Michael J. Rosenborg
Book: The Fountainhead
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Usually we see slide rule references in sci-fi such as Heinlein. Here's one from a non-sf book. Ayn Rand's _The Fountainhead_, in the "Peter Keating" chapter, section XIV: "In the Sunday supplements there were photographs of Cosmo-Slotnick starlets in shorts and sweaters, holding T-squares and slide-rules, standing before drawing boards that bore the legend: 'Cosmo-Slotnick Building' over a huge question mark." This is in reference to "the most beautiful building in the world" competition, which the sleazy, conniving, murderous Peter Keating won by more-or-less stealing ideas from true architect Howard Roark. I wish this book had illustrations...just one, anyway. Regards, Mike
Fred Kiesche
ISRG 17071
I just had a slide rule "sighting" in a story on my local National Public Radio station (WNYC in New York City). They stated that during a surprise inspection by the weapons inspectors in Iraq at a Iraqi technical school the students came out for a "spontaneous" demonstration (I use the quote marks as they had picket signs ready) carrying the aforemetioned picket signs, but also their t-squares and (this is exactly what the reporter stated) their slide rules! Maybe there's hope yet. Hands across the slide rules, hands across the nations, yaddi, yaddi, yaddi...
Robert Adams
Magazine: Australian Standard
ISRG 17311
Just received the latest "The Australian Standard", a monthly publication by the Australian Standards Association. On the back cover is a advert for their student handbook publications and they have included a half a scan of a slide rule. As near as I can tell it is a Pickett 140 Microline in "eyesaver yellow"
Kent Walker
ISRG 17634
Another sighting - don't know if it's been mentioned before. In the Sunnyvale, California Fry's Electronics (the one with the Silicon Gulch history exhibits) on the far back wall (behind the display of monitors) is a large picture of an HP-35 calculator and an engineer(?) using a slide rule.
Carl Schwent
ISRG 17836
Today's Arizona Republic newspaper mentioned a slide rule in an article about the irrigation system in the Phoenix area. A special plastic slide rule is used by the zanjero, or ditch rider, to compute water flow. I wonder who made them and if if would be possible to get one :-).
John Mosand
ISRG 17993
I did some more "research" trying to find evidence of old SRs. In the French Encyclopedia (1762-77), among the more than 3000 plates with tens of thousands of illustrated items, I can find only one SR-like. It isn't logarithmic however - only evenly divided scales. It is found under 'astronomy'. None under 'math'. The famous Samuel Johnson's Dictionary (1756 and 1843) has no mention of SRs. The 20 volume edition of the Oxford English Dictionary has the first literary reference from Samuel Pepys (1663). But that only concerns a 'slide rule for measuring timber'. The next reference is from 1838, about slide rules for 'working mechanics'. I also looked in the 1897 Sears catalog. It only shows a sector-like item among carpenter's accessories. It is called a 'slide rule' and one leg has a 'Gunter's slide'. (Price 25 cents!) No 'regular' SRs.
John Pugsley
Film: Flight of the Phoenix
ISRG 18055
The first may have been mentioned previously, so forgive me if so. I was watching Jimmy Stewart in "The Flight of the Phoenix" the other night. Toward the end of the movie, the German playing the part of an airplane designer uses a slide rule to calculate something. It was not clear enough for me to guess at the type. But as he exits the room, he casually has it sticking out of his back pocket!
John Pugsley
Magazine: Physics Today
ISRG 18055
The following is in the Letters section of a recent Physics Today: "Another Fermi Tale" During a lecture at Los Alamos around 1945, Enrico Fermi was at the chalkboard discussing how a dependent variable-it may have been a cross section-varied with the independent variable, which may have been energy. Initially, the independent variable rose steeply, but when a criterion was satisfied, the steep rise ceased and the dependent variable thereafter remained approximately constant. To show this graphically, Fermi drew an x-axis and a y-axis on the chalkboard. He then drew the curve, which initially rose steeply and then leveled off. Thus far, Fermi had drawn three lines to illustrate his point and had given them no markings of anything quantitative. He then stepped back from the board, thought for a moment, took a six-inch slide rule from his shirt pocket, and did a quick calculation. The result of the calculation prompted him to say that the level part of the curve was not as high as he had drawn it. Going back to the board, he used his fingers to erase the horizontal part of the curve and then carefully redrew it an inch or two lower than it had been initially. The room was silent for a moment, and then laughter erupted. Fermi smiled and continued the lecture.
Ernest Tomlinson
Film: Dr. Strangelove
ISRG 18057
In this case, I have to mention a favorite scene of mine, from the end of Stanley Kubrick's _Dr. Strangelove_. The president asks Dr. Strangelove how long they'd have to stay in the mines to escape the effects of the "Doomsday Machine". Dr. Strangelove says to wait a minute, and with his good hand he starts rummaging through his pockets--and then his bad hand, the gloved hand that keeps "Sieg Heil"ing and strangling the Doctor, comes up from his lap, holding a circular slide rule. Dr. Strangelove does a subtle double take, as if he hadn't expected that to happen, and then proceeds with his calculation, finally grabbing the slide rule with a sharp, angry jerk from the gloved hand and putting it in his jacket pocket.
Francois Boucher
ISRG 18058
Look at this picture of the discoverers of the chemical structure of DNA: (better versions may be found on the web or in recent articles) In this very famous picture, probably taken in 1953, as James Watson is observing him, Francis Crick is pointing to a model of DNA with an object that apppears to be a slide rule. Does anyone know what model of SR is pictured here? Considering that the team discovered the molecular structure of DNA while working at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, do you think that the model of SR that Crick is holding might be a Unique model, or does anyone recognize another make? (In his Nobel lecture, Crick omitted to specify what model SR he was using at the time... ;-)
Jim Clark
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Referring to 18058 Looks to me like it is a Lawrence/Engineering Instruments slide rule.
John Puglsy
ISRG 18302
This is from a little booklet about the first atomic pile...(sorry about the length) From "The First Reactor" U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, 1968 At 2:50 the control rod came out another foot. The counters nearly jammed, the pen headed off the graph paper. But this was not it. Counting ratios and the graph scale had to be changed. "Move it six inches," said Fermi at 3:20. Again the change - but again the leveling off. Five minutes later, Fermi called: "Pull it out another foot." Weil withdrew the rod. "This is going to do it, Fermi said to Compton, standing at his side, "Now it will become self-sustaining. The trace will climb and continue to climb. It will not level off." Fermi computed the rate of rise of the neutron counts over a minute period. He silently, grim-faced, ran through some calculations on his slide rule. In about a minute he again computed the rate of rise. If the rate was constant and remained so, he would know the reaction was self-sustaining. His fingers operated the slide with lightning speed. Characteristically, he turned the rule over and jotted down some figures on its ivory back. Three minutes later he again computed the rate of rise neutron count. The group on the balcony had by now crowded in to get an eye on the instruments, those behind craning their necks to be sure they would know the very instant history was made. In the background could be heard Wilcox Overbeck calling out the neutron count over an annunciator systern. Leona Marshall (the only girl present), Anderson, and William Sturm were recording the readings from the instruments. By this time the click of the counters was too fast for the human ear. The clickety-click was now a steady brrrrr. Fermi, unmoved, unruffled, continued his computations. The Curve is Exponential "I couldn't see the instruments," said Weil. "I had to watch Fermi every second, waiting for orders. His face was motionless. His eyes darted from one dial to another. His expression was so calm it was hard. But suddenly, his whole face broke into a broad smile." Fermi closed his slide rule - "The reaction is self-sustaining," he announced quietly, happily. "The curve is exponential." The group tensely watched for twenty-eight minutes while the world's first nuclear chain reactor operated. The upward movement of the pen was leaving a straight line. There was no change to indicate a leveling off. This was it. "O.K., 'Zip, in," called Fermi to Zinn who controlled that rod. The time was 3:53 p.m. Abruptly, the counters slowed down, the pen slid down across the paper. It was all over. Man had initiated a self-sustaining nuclear reaction - and then stopped it. He had released the energy of the atom's nucleus and controlled that energy. In the same booklet is a photograph of Laura and Enrico Fermi sitting at a table, both looking at the slide rule in Enrico's hands. It is a duplex, probably K&E, with apparently the dark wood (mahogany?). Fun stuff!
Michael P. O'Leary
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Refers to 18302 Here are some clues to look for on the slide rule image. If you can see the two rivets on the bottom of the brace, you have a clue that helps. If the rivets are parallel with the edge of the rule, it is a 4088-3. If the inner one is higher, it is a 4071 -3. If the rule is fat, it is a 4081-3.
Fred Kiesche
ISRG 18346
While not a slide rule, it looks like a sighting of another non-electronic calculator. Anybody know if this is something real? This is from William Gibson's "Pattern Recognition" (Putnam's, 2003, ISBN 0-399-14986-4), page 28-29... ==================================================== "Miss?" The one in the shorts. "Hello?" The grey-faced man, sharply, impatient. She tells herself to run, but can't. "Yes?" "The Curtas." The blond one, stepping closer. "It isn't her, you idiot. She's not bloody coming." The gray one again, with mountin irritation. The blond one blinks. "You haven't come about the Curtas?" "The what?" "The calculators." She can't resist, then, and steps closer to the car, to see. "What are they?" "Calculators." The tight plastic of the black man's jacket creaking as he bends to pick up one of the grenades. Turning to hand it to her. And then she is holding it: heavy, ense, knurled for gripping. Tabs or flantes that look as though meant to move in these slots. Small round windows showing white numbers. At the top something that looks like the crank on a pepper mill, as executed by a small-arms manufacturer. "I don't understant," she says, and imagines she'll wake, just then, in Damien's bed, because it's gone that dreamlike now. Automatically seeking a trademark, she turns the thing over. And sees that it is made in Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein? "What is it?" "It is a precision instrument," the black man says, "performing calculations mechanically, employing neither electricity nor electronic components. The sensation of its operation is best likened to that of winding a fine thirty-five-millimeter camera. It is the smallest mechanical calculating machine ever constructed." Voice deep and mellifluous. "It is the invention of Curt Herzstark, an Austrian, who developed it while a prisoner in Buchenwald. The camp authorities actually encouraged his work, you see. 'Intelligence slave,' his title there. They wished his calculator to be given to the Fuhrer, at the end of the war. But Buchenwald was liberated in 1945 by the Americans. Herzstark had survived." He gently take the thin from her. Enormous hands. "He had his drawings." Large fingers moving surely, gently, clicking the black tabs into a different configuration. He grasps the knurled cylinder in his left, gives the handle at the top a twirl. Smoothly ratcheting a sum from its interior. He raises it to see the resulting figure in a tiny window. "Eight hundred pounds. Excellent condition." Dropping an eyelid partially, to wait for her response." "It's beautiful," his offer finally giving her a context for this baffling exchange: These men are dealers, come here to do business in these things. "But I wouldn't know what to do with it." ===================================================
John Jarosz
Film: From the Terrace
ISRG 18822
Flipping thru the channels, AMC was showing "From the Terrace" with Paul Newman & JoAnne Woodword from 1960. In the last half hour of the movie, Newman is playing distractedly with a slide rule while talking with someone. Maybe a Pickett, but I couldn't tell for sure. Scene is maybe a minute or so.
Pearu Terts
ISRG 19067
Brenda Maddox, "Rosalind Franklin, the dark lady of DNA" has a photograph Watson and Crick and the 1953 model of the DNA. The caption says "...For the purpose of the picture, Crick was persuaded to point with a slide rule even though he had not used one in preparing the model".
Pearu Terts
Magazine: Physics Today
ISRG 19067
The March 2003 edition of 'Physics Today', page 13 has a story about Fermi by Albert Bartlett. Fermi drew x and y axis on a chalkboard and then drew a curve. The axis and the curve had no quantitative markings. "...He then stepped back from the board, thought for a moment, took a six-inch slide rule from his shirt pocket, and did a quick calculation. The result of the calculation prompted him to to say that the level part of the curve was not as high as he had drawn it. Going backto the board, he used his fingers to erase the horizontal part of the curve and then carefully redraw it an inch or two lower than it had been initially. The room was silent for a moment, and then laughter erupted. Fermi smiled and continued the lecture".
Fred Kiesche Sky and Telescope
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I'm working my way through Sky & Telescope for a amateur astronomy project. When I was flipping through the February 1971 issue, I spotted the following: ========================================= SLIDE RULE USERS Does Your Slide Rule Provide Enough Accuracy? Or do you have to check important calculations? This remarkable cylindrical slide rule gives the accuracy you need! Scales are 66" long for reliable results to four or even five figures. Had C, D and 5-place Log scales, each over 6 times longer than usual. Patented spiral construction packs 3 66" scales into easy-to-read pocket-size calculator. Only 6" closed, 10" open. Simple to use. Full instructions provided. Quickly learned. No seldom-used scales to get in your way. Ideal for lab or field use. Lifetime chrome steel construction. Can't warp or break. No fragile glass cursor. Carefully crafted in England. Gives fast, precise answers to your computations. Stops errors. Why Not Solve Your Calculating Problems Today? OTIS KING SPIRAL SLIDE RULE Only $19.95 ppd. Typical user comments: "For what I'm doing (Biochemistry) the Otis King beats the...(electric calculator) as well as all the other slide rules I've used." "Invaluable after just a week's use." "Very please with its method of operation. It indeed performs as advertised." Satisfaction Unconditionally Guaranteed Calculator Co. 5335 Fidler Avenue Lakewood, Calif. (and then a coupon) CALCULATOR COMPANY--Dept. T-2 Box 593, Lakewood, Calif. 90714 Please send me _____ Otis King slide rule(s) at $19.95 each on a satisfaction-guaranteed basis. Name______ Address_____ City/State____ (In California, add 5% sales tax.)
Miles Schumacher
TV: Jeopardy
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I don't know how many of you are Jeopardy! fans, but on the show last night (28 May 2003) they had a category on calculating instruments. The first question was a visual to identify the item. Answer: This item preceded the Sextant in star navigation. Question: What is an astrolabe. The 4 question was: Answer: Keuffel and Esser, the dominant producer in this type of calculating device, stopped production in 1975. Question: What is the Slide Rule. Hopefully others saw this show as well.
TV: The Wire
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On the HBO program "the Wire", calculations for a police investigation was being done with a slide rule.
Steven Horii
TV: The Wire
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My wife watches the cable TV program, "The Wire". She was watching a recorded episode last evening; I think this is last week's show. At any rate, I believe it was the Medical Examiner who was computing how long a number of people could survive in a cargo container before asphyxiating. A physician was giving him data on human oxygen consumption and he had the dimensions of the container. He was doing his computations on a slide rule! Sorry, but there wasn't enough of a close up to determine what kind of 'rule, though it looked to have a number of scales. The shot was fairly short, but the actor looked as though he knew what he was doing. Oh, the context of this was that a freight container with 14 dead women in it had been found aboard a ship in the Baltimore harbor.
Robert Adams
Magazine: Scientific Computing
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The most recent edition of Scientific Computing (see link) Has on it's cover 3 sliderules, a otis king, Fowler and a calculigraphe. This is a lead into a story on "Computing after Babbage" where they mention slide rules etc. At the end of the article there is a piece on the portable analogue computer (aka slide rule). The story ends with the following words... "Naturally, the slide rule's heyday is long over. But with a strong specialist niche, an enthusiatic collectors' circuit and a new generation to whom slide rules are a retro "geek accessory", this convenient little analogue computer very much lives on." all I can say is ....let's hear it for us retro geeks!!! The magazine is a free subscription if you meet certain criteria, dont know what but I seem to meet it??
Grant Hutchinson
Magazine: Scientific Computing
ISRG 19587
Did anyone notice in the Scientific Computing article referenced below, the section on "analogue computers" (AKA slide rules) contained the following paragraph: "One important area of development was to lengthen the scale to go beyond the Mannheim's three-digit precision, but retaining portability. Though less popular than straight rules, circular rules provided some space saving (an eight-foot scale fits on a three-foot disc) and this idea led to elegant sealed 'pocket watch' designs, which reached their acme in the French Calculigraphe and the Manchester-made Fowler Magnum, a 4.5 ft multi-scale model. More radical variants that appeared in the 1880s were Edwin Thacher's Calculating Instrument and Professor Fuller's Calculator. Both were two-foot cylindrical rules achieving a precision of about five digits, the Thacher by multiple straight scales totaling 30 feet, the Fuller by a single helical scale 41 feet long. A less cumbersome 20th century rule, the Otis King, gave one of the best compromises between size and precision: its 66-foot helical scale, giving four-digit precision, fits on a six-foot telescopic cylinder. " In the second sentence, circular rule "space saving" would hardly be accomplished by a "three-foot disc in an elegant sealed pocket watch design!" Obviously, the author must have substituted feet for inches or else have very large pockets. Even at that, by my reckoning, a three inch disc would allow a scale of somewhat over 9 inches, not 8 inches. The last sentence is hilarious. A good compromise between size and precision would hardly be a 66-foot scale on a humungous 6-foot telescopic Otis King's cylinder. The author seems obsessed with magnitude over convenience, obviously believing that size does matter. Where-oh-where are the proof-readers of the world?
James Stephens
Magazine: The Leading Edge
ISRG 19844
On Page 651 (the journal issue starts on page 594) of the July 2003 The Leading Edge (TLE--a trade journal for exploration geophysics) there is an ad for Tricon Geophysics, Inc. ( The ad features a Mannheim-style wooden slide rule, well worn and rather nice looking for that. Overlaid on the cursor is an image of that famous Japanese woodcut of a tsunami, overlaid with the logo for the Tsunami imaging suite. Awhile back the subject of sliderules in geophysics popped up, with Brian Borchers mentioning a normal moveout or seismic velocity slide rule designed by Carl Savit, late of Western Geophysical (now WesternGeco, after a merger). I did inquire about this with the author af an article that Brian had cited, with my (now former) employer, but never found anything, unfortunately. Maybe I'll track something down one of these days.
John Cadick
Film: High Time
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In the movie High Time (Bing Crosby - 1960). The freshman have completed their bonfire and the upperclassmen are checking to make sure that it is high enough. The upperclassmen are using a surveyor's level and a tape. The measure the distance, get the angle, and then the upperclassman pulls out a slide rule to calculate the height. It looks like a K&E duplex.
John Caddick
Without Love
ISRG 20373
Here's a good one. In the movie Without Love - Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. She is helping him with research on high altitude oxygen mask. They are in the lab and he asks her "What was that measurement?" Katherine Hepburn looks at the slide rule she is holding and answers him. Looked like a K&E.
Fred Kiesche
ISRG 20722
Anybody ever read the so-called "Mad Scientists' Club" stories by Bertrand R. Brinley? Some appeared in "Boy's Life" in the 60's, and then appeared in a couple of books. Purple House Press is publishing them again in special anniversary editions. So far I've picked up "The Mad Scientists' Club" and "The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club". The interior title illustration of the first book shows the gang on a street of the members (the one who comes up with the details of the schemes, Henry Mulligan) manipulating a slide rule (can't tell what kind). In one of the stories in the book, "Night Rescue", in which the gang rescues a downed Air Force pilot, Henry uses a slide rule to do calculations to try and determine where the pilot came down. And, the cover illustration of "More" shows the gang on a similar street corner. Henry is reading a book, has another book under his arm. Looks like a slide rule sticking out... Fun stories, almost as fun as they were when I first read them!
Doug Bateman
TV: Transistorized
ISRG 20723
Watching a PBS show, Transistorized, the host was fiddling with a slide rule during some of his commentary. Might have been a K&E. (There were no attempts at using it except as a prop.)
Gary Flom
Magazine: Discover
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SR sighting Discover Mag Oct 03,pg 6,E6-B slide rule This is the most beautiful picture I have seen of this flight computer.Submitted by Hugh Haskell(ISRG member?)
Cyril Catt
TV: Catalyst
ISRG 20865
Last week I tuned in late to the Australian Broadcasting Commission's programme and caught sight of what I took to be an anthropologist being interviewed about cannibalism. But what caught my eye was that they appeared to be strolling past the slide rule display cabinets in the Maculae Museum at Sydney University (which also contains considerable anthropological exhibits)
Ron Knapp
ISRG 21372
There is currently an auction on eBay for a couple of draft letters written by Albert Einstein for the 1939 New York World's Fair time capsule. It has the low starting bid of only $75,000! I guess the final printed message (on long lasting special paper) was buried along with a slide rule, although I can't tell if the slide rule actually belonged to anyone famous or not, nor the manufacturer/type. Does anyone else out there know what type of slide rule was buried? (Perhaps the New York based Keuffel & Esser?) I'm sure the location of this slide rule would be easier to find than that of the buried Analons! Too bad they wouldn't allow anyone to do it!There is currently an auction on eBay for a couple of draft letters written by Albert Einstein for the 1939 New York World's Fair time capsule.
Gary Flom
Magazine: Sporty Wright Bros Collection
ISRG 22116
There is currently an auction on eBay for a couple of draft letters written by Albert Einstein for the 1939 New York World's Fair time capsule. It has the low starting bid of only $75,000! I guess the final printed message (on long lasting special paper) was buried along with a slide rule, although I can't tell if the slide rule actually belonged to anyone famous or not, nor the manufacturer/type. Does anyone else out there know what type of slide rule was buried? (Perhaps the New York based Keuffel & Esser?) I'm sure the location of this slide rule would be easier to find than that of the buried Analons! Too bad they wouldn't allow anyone to do it!
Adam Coleman
TV: Full Court Miracle
ISRG 22174
Just finished watching the end of a made for TV movie on the Disney Channel called "Full Court Miracle" about a basketball team at a Jewish school. At the end of the tournament the power goes out due to a thunderstorm, but the teams agree to play till the emergency generator runs out of fuel. As the boys resume play, the algebra teacher, outside at the generator in the rain, pulls a 10" duplex slide rule from under his overcoat and uses it to figure out how much longer the generator will be able to run on the available fuel. He first used it to measure the amount of fuel left in the glass sight on the tank! Could have been a Versalog or K&E log log rule. If you get the Disney Channel on cable, you can still catch the movie. It will be on 2-3 more times this week. Makes me wonder, any of you diehard slide rule/basketball fans take your 10" Duplex to the basketball game with you? :)
Marion Moon
Newspaper: L.A. Times
ISRG 22267
Today's LA Times had an article by Robert Smaus, the former garden editor, on building his small cabin in the mountains outside LA. He identified a web site where plans for small cabins and houses can be found. One of the plans includes a solar slide rule for identifying solar coverage which can be found here: (Rod: (Can be found on Wayback machine.
Cthulhu Fatagn
Magazine: The Life Explorer
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Spotted! On the cover of a Singapore magazine "The Life Explorer" a 'G Small circular slide rule' occupying the position of the "O" in the title of the magazine PLUS a 3-page full colour profusely and gorgeously illustrated write-up inside! Anyone who wants a colour scan of the cover & article pls email me at cthulhufatagn @ hotmail . com [eliminate spacing in the email address] with the title "I WANT A SCAN OF THE SLIDE RULE ARTICLE". Consider this my humble Christmas offering to our esteemed little eGroup.
Marion Moon
TV: History Channel
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The last couple of days the History channel had a show, probably a repeat, on jet engines. In some of the photos from the Skunk Works in the 1940s, there were at least two slide rules seen. One was on the drawing table of Johnson and the other was in the hands of an engineer held so as to show that it was definitely a slide rule. Both appeared to be K&Es. Earlier, the History channel repeated a show from last year on the Lufftwaffe and its airplanes -- especially late in the war. In one of the film clips from one of the aircraft design institutes in 1943-3 there was a slide rule seen. It was slightly covered but appeared to be of Darmstadt design which is to be expected I would think. After the war, the Allies all tried and did have German engineers brought to their respective countries to try to gain some of the advanced engineering design that the Germans seemed to have. Some think that the seed for the Airbus came from some of these aernautical engineers going to France. The US gained rocket knowledge from von Braun and his associates. I wonder how many of these Darmstadts showed up in antique stores in Huntsville, El Paso, Dayton and other places.
Fred Kiesche
TV: Nickledeon
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This morning on "Fairy Oddparents", a show on Nickelodeon (kid's channel), the star, Timmy, brandishes a slide rule during his speech to try and win the campaign for class president. He theme was--I'm a geek, and I care, so vote for me. Now, this is a cartoon, so you could not see any detail on the SR. But, given that Timmy is 10 years old, and given the size of the SR in his hands, it certainly looked to be big enough to be a high-end power-user rule...
Marion Moon
TV: History Channel
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On a recent History channel show on smart bombs, a former Texas Instruments engineer talked about the first proposal, done over a weekend in the early 60s, for a laser guided missle said that the slide rule calculations for the proposal were still valid 20 years later. Some vindication for slide rules I think.
Cthulhu Fatagn
Magazine: Armageddon
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Leon Uris' "Armageddon" Dell Paperback 1972 edn. This is a novel about the Allied Occupation of defeated Germany. At page 492 thereof:-"Practical men from the Pentagon with slide rules and charts had their turn." The context was logistics experts estimating how many planeloads of stuff was needed to keep Berlin alive during the infamous Soviet attempt to starve West Berlin to death.
Joe Bento
TV: Fox News
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Artillary training has been going on at the Camp Williams army installation in Utah (About 30 miles south of Salt Lake City). The blasts have been audible throughout Utah County where I live. Last evening on the Salt Lake Fox News affiliate, one of the reporters was there at the army base reporting just what's been going on. He described the training and the projectiles that were being fired. Everything is calculated by computer - EXCEPT - all calculations are double checked by hand on a slide rule, and the reporter referred to them as such! (So the computer's calculations aren't gospel, and they are checked by hand!) While the news video did not show what the slide rule looks like, it showed the soldiers using them. The SRs in use do not appear to be conventional - they are rather large! By appearance, they are definately much larger than a typical 10" rule both in length and width.
Jim Beaver
TV: History Channel
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On the History Channel I watched two back to back programs about Soviet aircraft last Saturday. One was about the copying of the B-29 super fortress to produce the Tu-4 and the other was about the development of the MiG-15. During the MiG-15 show one of the Russian designers made a comment something along the lines of "All the caluulations were made with a slide rule and an abacus." Then he went on to add "I wonder how many Americans know what an abacus is?" I guess we could answer him that there are at least a few of us.
Bev Eyre
TV: Full Court Miracle
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My 8 year old daughter and I are watching "Full Court Miracle", one of those made for TV kids shows. I just watched a scene in which an old algebra teacher takes out a slide rule to calculate the flow rate in a gasoline powered generator. There's a glass pipe on the outside of the generator that is partially filled with gas, and a ball float on top to indicate the amount of gas left. Before he calculates, he uses the slide rule to measure the level of gasoline in the pipe by placing the slide rule next to the pipe carefully and seeing where the ball is next to (on the D scale, presumably). After he's used the slide rule to measure, he then moves the cursor around to get the answer.
John Conway Jnr.
Book: Unknown
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I was in Barnes & Noble again today and I always find myself glancing through the reference section for a book I saw about six months ago. It was on great inventions, ideas, and applications of technology that have had a profound influence on mankind. You probably seen a couple of these things around. As you might expect, I thumbed through it quickly searching for some mention of the slide rule. To my great satisfaction there was a page or two devoted to it. I can not remember the name of the book or its author. I was in a hurry and I figured it would still be around the next time I went back. Fast forward a couple days, I'm in B & N and the book is sweat, I'll look around. Six months later... I can't seem to forget about it because the SR that was held up as an example was sort of unique in that the scales were labeled in a way that you needed to hold the SR vertically to work it; the initial index at the bottom, and the terminating index at the top. I'm guessing this was a really old slide rule, but I have never seen another example of this on the internet. Has anyone in the group seen this book or know anything of the SR I'm talking about? I know what your thinking...just ask customer service, right? Well, I've tried that but it seems that the book store has had a number of these books in the past. The customer service people are always kind enough to hit me with their stock question, "We do not have any of these in stock, but we can put them on order if you like?" The truth is I don't want to do that without being relatively sure which one it is. Any feed back on this SR, or book would be appreciated. Thank you in advance for your attention.
Marion Moon
ISRG 22851
On a surveyor's web site the following was posted yesterday: Had to lay-out 300 foot vertical curve. Old man walks over and looks at me computing ordinates. He pulls a slide rule out! Sets grade angle (7%) on scale A adjacent to twice the length (600) on scale B. Looks at 50 on scale C and reads 0.29 from scale A, then 100 on C and 1.17 on A, then 150 on C and 2.625 on A. He computed ordinates with a beaten up old slide rule before I knew what was happening. Took him all of TEN seconds! Anybody got a sliderule they don't want? SRs still work don't they?
Cthulhu Fatagn
Film: K-19 The Widowmaker
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Sometime ago someone spotted a slide rule in the captoned movie. I managed to get 2 screen captures of the scene featuring the slide rule. Looks like your typical K+E job, but since the movie is produced jointly with National Geographic people who are famous for their attentiveness to historical authenticity (the "Making Of" featurette on the DVD is amazing! They actually obtained the design drawings from the shipyard which produced the submarine in question to make the set!) one may reasonably assume they dug up a gen-YOU-wine Sov slide rule to play its own part! Anyone interested in the screen capture? Email me cthulhufatagn @ hotmail . com (eliminate the spaces) with the title "I WANT THE K19 SLIDE RULE SCREENSHOTS" and I will send you the shots in a day or two.
Joe Bento
TV: Green Acres
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Oliver decides he want to raise chickens. He contracts Ralph and Ralph to build a brooder for the chicks. Out comes the slide rule (looks to be a Sterling) numerous times to calculate the dimensions. (Of course you all know how corny this show is.) The building is a disaster. Ralph and Ralph want $4,000 dollers for a job where all they did was essentially put a chicken wire fence across the door. Mr Douglas is outraged, and out comes the slide rule again to calculate time, material, etc. (Was this one even worth mentioning? :-)
Craig Kielhofer
TV: History Channel
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The History Channel tonight has a good show on: "Days that shook the world: Fermi's Chain Reaction" which showed the history of the famous test here in Chicago. I don't know how much research they did, but they showed Fermi using a 10" Mannheim slide rule in use. I know this was discussed before, but what WAS the type of slide rule he used?
Steven Horii
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OK, so this is not like a TV: or movie slide rule sighting. However, it is interesting for a couple of reasons: 1. It is in the context of the Soviet space program, and 2. This is a Web site well worth exploring. See: Specifically, scroll down the page until you come to the picture of the "Camera system on Venera-9 and Mars-5 orbiters". There's a slide rule included in the photo, I guess for scale of the equipment. Note that these pictures are not very clear, but since photographs of Soviet/Russian space hardware at this level of detail are hard to find, they are still useful. Don Mitchell, who researched and created this Web site has done some amazing stuff. Surf around his Web site and you'll understand.
Jim Bready
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While in Oregon over the Christmas/New Years holidays, I decided to buy a telescope. I've been threatening to for about five years, so it wasn't a spur of the moment decision. After searching the Internet for telescope retailers in Oregon, I came across Hardin Optical in Bandon, a small town about 15 miles south of Coos Bay, the nearest "big" town. First of all, let me say that Hardin Optical is a *nice* store. In addition to a spotless display area with at least two dozen scopes and mounts setup, they have a separate area for children to play in (they know us can't-quite-make-up-my-mind types) that has toys, games, a TV: and kids videos..... and a 7' Pickett slide rule way up on the wall! I regret to say that I did not grill them for details of how it got there, I was more intent on other things that day. But if you're ever passing through Bandon, be sure to stop in and see it, and say hi to Drew and Warren for me. Oh yes, almost forgot. Tele Vue NP-101.
James Stephens
Magazine: Sky and Telescope
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Look on page 62 of the March 2004 Sky & Telescope to see a description--with photo--of the Lunawheel. This is a special-purpose, circular slide rule type device (no calculating scales) for determining the phase of the moon on arbitrary dates. The description discusses how it is faster than a computer (at least accounting for the user) in performing this task.
TV: Good Eats
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I was watching Good Eats (Food Channel) last night and Alton Brown, the host pulled out a slide rule about half way through the show. He was commenting on the ratio of rice to water, and said something like "if you have a slide rule, and know how to use it, you could probably figure out a formula." It looked like a large duplex K&E, but the scene went by so fast I couldn't be sure.
John Jarosz
TV: Fantastic Voyage
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Today on AMC they are showing "Fantastic Voyage". Edmond O'bien uses a pocket slide rule to calculate how far the tiny submersible will travel while they stop the patient's heart. He fiddles with the rule for a few seconds, then announces, "57 seconds". It's a small pocket SR, maybe a Post.
Bill Zeilstra
Magazine: Reminisce Extra
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I enjoyed looking through the April 2004 issue of Reminisce Extra. It's a standard-size magazine; about the dimensions of TIME. On the inside cover is a 2-page spread on the 1936 apprenticeship program of Allis-Chambers company in West Allis, Wisconsin. A large, very clear picture is included that shows 32 young men arranged by drafting tables on which are drafting instruments and slide rules. Adolph Werner, the one who submitted the picture, writes: "After 3 years, we ended up as journeyman draftsmen making $120 a month. We all dressed pretty muhc alike, with ties and long-sleeved shirts. And there was no air-conditioning. ... We studied logarithms, calculus, and the drawings and inking sent in from the engineering department. We used slide rules too." The article continues "For those whose number-crunching history goes back only to electronic calculators, slide rules are manually operated." Well folks, it's a great picture, very clear and large. I'm keeping it!
Francois Boucher
TV: American Experience
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Refers to 23918. That was an excellent documentary. I had not known of Strauss' nervous breakdown during the building of the bridge, nor of Ellis' major contribution. Did I understand well that Charles Ellis' name is NOT on the plaque adorning the GG Bridge? One could also see the hands of an actor working (wrongly...) what looked like a long K&E straight slide rule. I could not identify the model. (I also missed the Thacher & the circular slide rules that Michael & Fred observed... I guess I'll have my eyes examined).
Edward Seeley
TV: American Experience
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Refers to 23918. In the Golden Gate Bridge TV documentary, the Thatcher was sitting on the engineer's desk during the first computation reenactment while he used the circular slide rule. What the narrator called "an adding machine" was actually a four function mechanical calculator that was hand cranked. It could do addition and subtraction, plus multiplication and division to greater precision than a slide rule. My understanding is that it was often used by engineers to compute numbers taken from ten place tables of common logs and logs of trig functions, which gave a high degree of precision. This was a great help in solving differential equations. Wouldn't it have been nice to see a reenactment of the engineer using the Thatcher?
Paul Currie
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While checkign out ed van hoys sight for custom knifes I noticed that his photo at the main page has a pic of a knife and drawings along with a pickett slide rule THe we sight is Stamascus knife works do a search and see a real slide rule in modern advertizing LOL
Bill Zeilstra
Message: Apollo 11
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This just in from today's AP -- notice the references to slide rules! ---------- NASA Marks Apollo 11's 35th Anniversary 54 minutes ago ---------- Add Science - AP to My Yahoo! By PAM EASTON, Associated Press Writer HOUSTON - Johnson Space Center staff and retirees Tuesday marked the 35th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing with MoonPies, a vintage car parade and proud reflections of a deed that dazzled the world. The celebration was a far cry from the 1969 bash that some remembered as a "drunken orgy" to mark the safe return of the Apollo 11 crew of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. "The cigars came out," retiree Norman Chaffee, 67, said Tuesday. "The flags came out. Boy, you put away your slide rule. For about 24 hours, there were people stumbling out there on the road. That was just a tremendous party." It was also a time of less technology � and less bureaucracy, veterans recalled. "I stared up at the moon and couldn't believe what we had just done," JSC's chief engineer, Jay Greene, said as celebrants browsed mock-ups of the moon's surface, a personal hygiene kit that traveled with the astronauts, newspaper articles from 1969 and pictures of the crew that flew the famed mission. "We went to the moon with slide rules," noted Chaffee, who worked on the spacecraft propulsion system. "I didn't even have my first full-function calculator until 1972. There was much less bureaucratic oversight at that time. People generally felt like if it made sense, go ahead and do it. "We were much less risk averse. Now with the Challenger accident and the Columbia accident and some of the other things, we have become so risk averse that we don't dare do things," he said, adding: "The key is to take responsible risks." Randy Stone, deputy director of the Johnson Space Center, said many things made the Apollo era easier than today for space projects. "We were in the Cold War," he said. "We were in a technological race that most people believed we could not afford to lose. "The naysayers didn't have as much influence," Stone said. "It was still hard to get money, but it wasn't near as hard as it is today." Stone said accomplishing something great, however, is difficult regardless of the era: "Technical things and things where you are putting people's lives at risk are tough at any time." The challenges of the Apollo 11 mission were so all-consuming that Cecil Gibson, who also worked on the rocket's propulsion system, said he didn't even know his first child had been born until three days later. "By the time it kind of settled down and I got a chance to go home, I had a 3-day-old daughter," Gibson recalled Tuesday. "We called her the moon baby." Milt Heflin, chief of JSC's Flight Director Office, said taking a man to the moon was the "gutsiest thing that we have ever, ever done. "At that time, you could feel it. Man, we were on a roll," he said.0
Fred Kiesche
DVD: Tomorrowland
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A friend of mine gave me the Disney boxed set "Tomorrowland". It contains a couple of their programs about space travel done in conjunction with folks like Willey Ley and von Braun. In two shots slide rules are seen, used as pointers (once by von Braun, once by Ernst Stuhlinger). There's also the famous Disney short "Our Friend, the Atom" and a short about Epcot.
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I've been meaning to mention this SR sighting made by my brother in California earlier this month. He and his grandson (12) were tuned into a cartoon channel featuring an old Tom & Jerry flick. Tom was trying to invent a better mousetrap and was busy making some calculations on a slide rule. My brother said that his grandson had no idea what Tom was doing. Worst luck; we don't get Tom & Jerry down here in Australia, so I've no idea what type of rule the little fellow was using. :>) - Dan Wills
Andrew Davie
TV: Crop Circles
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I was watching an interesting TV-show on Crop Circles yesterday. A bunch of MIT students were given the task of creating a crop-circle showing all the characteristics of 'real' crop-circles -- which apparently includes high-heat damage to the wheat stalks, radiating pattern of iron deposit, etc. Their job was to do it overnight, within a set time limit. The students did a pretty good job, actually. Sometime late in the show, one of the students was calculating area and volume (or something similar) of the crop circle, and he was doing it on a slide rule. So, at the time of the show, slide rules were still used by at least one geeky student at MIT.
Cthulhu Fatagn
Book: Harry Potter
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Say, sometime back my daughter told me she came across mention of a slide rule in one of the Harry Potter books. However despite a concerted effort neither I nor my daughter could find that reference again. Any luck, any of you out there? If you can find it can you pls give us the reference as well as the quote itself?
Mike Markowski
Book: Harry Potter
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Refers to 24549 I think it's in the 1st book when Fudge, the Minister of Magic, is introduced. He as described as being so meticulous that he likely uses a slide rule to cut his mustache. It seems JK, while a fantastic author, has never used a slide rule. Or maybe wizards simply use them differently...
Cthulhu Fatagn
Book: Harry Potter
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Refers to 24551 Ahhh many thanks!! Well spotted, Sir! Perhaps Mr Fudge was CALCULATING how much to trim, or the curvature, or the volume of his moustache! Or engaging in some arcane hirsute magic requiring precise 3-significant figures magic-math.... Hmmmmm. JK seemed to be of the correct age to have been within the last 2 or perhaps 3 generations of students taught to use slide rules in schools .....
Mike Markowski
Book: Earthman, Come Home
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I'm on vacation for another week or so but have a chance to send off a quick email today. I've been reading some new (to me) classic sci-fi. The past few days have been James Blish's very enjoyable "Earthman, Come Home" (1955) where some cities of the future have taken to the skies with anti-gravity technology and move from star system to star system to find work. They've also cured the aging problem, and so have to deal with how to get rid of needless tidbits stored in the ol' bean. The result is to store processes and have machines store facts. And finally, the reference: "In some cases even processes were wiped from human memory to make more room if there were simple, indestructible machines to replace them --- the slide rule, for instance. Amalfi wondered suddenly if there was a single man in the city who could multiply, divide, take square root, or figure pH in his head or on paper." Interestingly, the book does mention transistors, p-n junctions, and even digital computers. However, the antigrav machines are run using gigantic tubes. Hard, I guess, to truly break free of the present... Ok, back to the beach and on to "Legions of Space." :-) I won't have a chance to catch up on the list or respond to any emails for another week and a half. Hope the summer is going well for everyone!
Wayne Brown
DVD: A Beautiful Mind
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While sitting home listening to hurricane Ivan whistling outside yesterday I decided to pass the time by re-watching "A Beautiful Mind." I didn't notice any slide rules in the movie itself, but in one of the "deleted scenes" on the DVD edition I saw what appeared to be a box or case for a slide rule. It's in the scene where Alicia goes through John's desk to find his address book and then tries to call his non-existent friend Charles Herman. The first drawer she opens contains a long, worn blue case of some sort. It's just about the right size and proportions to hold a 10" rule. The case appears to be made in two parts that slip together, similar to the plastic case for one of my Post 1447 rules or the cardboard slipcase for my Russian-made rule. I'd appreciate it if anyone who has access to the DVD could check this and see what you think. If needed, I could grab a screen capture of that scene although I'd have to email it to you because I don't currently have a web site where I could post i
Duane Croft
Film: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
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Just got back from seeing "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow". There is a slide rule in it. I think it was some type of Mannheim with a framed cursor. There were two shots (close-ups) of it, each lasting 3-5 seconds - they were less than a minute apart. Sky Captain's engineer Dex is using it to calculated the location of a radio transmitter. There may have been another shot showing a circular slide rule on an engineering/drafting table earlier but I couldn't tell for sure. The slide rule shots were excellent. I thought the rest of the movie was pretty good, too!
Christopher Meisenzahl
DVD: Scooby Doo
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Friday night I was watching the DVD of the 2nd Scooby-Doo movie with the kids. Near the end of the movie Velma was working on some calculation for some monster defeating device. She was clearly using a circular slide rule. :-)
Cthulhu Fatagn
Book: Winning at Work
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Slide rule sighted:- on a 70's book cover titled WINNING AT WORK. I snapped a foto of the book whilst in the store. Anyone interested I can email you a pix.
Bruce Arnold
Film: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
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Refers to 25024 I'm sure that to the makers, any slide rule looks "techie" -- of the movie makers who are old enough to have used them, how many would have ever used any but a Mannheim? Even in my college physics classes, I never needed log-log scales. A polyphase or a versatrig would have saved me a lot of work due to the folded scales (had I but known), but I got by with the Post 1447.
Daniel Hayes
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I'm sure that to the makers, any slide rule looks "techie" -- of the movie makers who are old enough to have used them, how many would have ever used any but a Mannheim? Even in my college physics classes, I never needed log-log scales. A polyphase or a versatrig would have saved me a lot of work due to the folded scales (had I but known), but I got by with the Post 1447.
David Hecht
Film: Apollo 13
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Not suggesting they weren't, just suggesting they weren't as common as the simpler Mannheim types. Heck, in the movie "Apollo 13" one of the engineers is shown with a slide rule that looks suspiciously like an old Sun-Hemmi/Post 1447 Mannheim. BTW I've found the best resource for figuring our which old Sun-Hemmi you have is the online /catalogue raisonne/ that Paul Ross has at his webiste:
Fred Kiesche
ISRG 25046
What the heck is "the slide rule of constructive criticism"? See: ...the text in the box next to the "brand new record" note. (Rod: See Wayback Machine: )
Gary Flom
ISRG 25048
Refers to 25046 I believe they are referring to a slide as used in mainly Country and Blues guitar. It it a cylindrical object that is worn on a finger of the fretting hand (almost always left), and slid along the strings to give a smooth bend in tone. Usually made of glass, ceramic, or metal. There is even a CD entitled "Slide Rule" by Metropolitan :)
Film: Apollo 13
ISRG 25050
Actually, the Apollo 13 sighting (sorry, I don't remember it) may be another movie anachronism, as well. My father was a NASA engineer in the early sixties, and I have the impression that there was a strong tendency among his colleagues in those days to flaunt the fanciest SR they could afford on their desks. It was, of course, a status thing. So while in the movie Apollo 13, the movie actor engineer may have had a relatively simple rule, in real life, the engineer the actor played quite probably had something better. As far as the movie makers are concerned, though, slide rule equals engineer/brainiac/math geek, and the prop they used was close enough. Anyway, my point about Sky Captain: the character Dex Dearborn is a comicbook-loving genius scientist engineer who creates amazing things like death-rays, and fighter planes that instantly convert into submarines, etc. on a virtually weekly basis. What kind of SR would Dex use? A simple Mannheim? Nope. He'd definitely have some wizbang of a slipstick, with multiple slides, and dozens of scales, reverse polish notation, and you get the idea.
Greg Scott
ISRG 25168
In a post election wrap up in the Australian (online version of the newspaper). Link,5744,11042692^12272 ,00.html Quote "the apparatchiks, the number-crunchers, the people who apply the slide rules to the marginals." Not a stellar quote I'm sorry. It was in reference to the election loss of the Aust Labor Party at the federal election last weekend and in context was a discussion about how our political leaders have lost touch with the people and instead are focusing on the party workers who examine the polling results for every possible variation caused by policy announcements, etc.
TV: Golden Gate Bridge
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Very Likely Duplicate Sighting PBS presentation on the Golden Gate Bridge Charles Ellis (apparantly the chief number cruncher of many large volumes of stress etc of the entire Golden Gate Bridge) appears with two slide rules. They only appear for a few seconds. I would be no better if they appeared for a few minutes. One looked like an 8 inch circular Gilson Binary. The other most likely a vintage K&E 408x?. I make no claim to recognize any by sight. Joseph Strauss and Leon Moissieff got credit for designing but Charles Ellis did the heavy lifting. They shot the bear and he pulled the trigger.
Bill Stanley
Book: Going Postal
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Terry Pratchett's latest Discworld book, "Going Postal", on p. 233 of the hardback edition. A brief excerpt for your review (hello, copyright guardians): " . . . a group of . . . engineers, all serious men with slide rules . . ." off-topic remark: Mr. Pratchett's discworld series is reasonably adult and hilarious. Definitely skewers the self-importance of "The Lord of the Rings" and other works that take magic and supernatural powers so seriously. Start with "The Color of Magic" (or "The Colour of Magic" outside of the USA) and "The Light Fantastic" and go from there.
Bill Robinson
Book: The Making of the Atomic Bomb
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Page 438 from "The Making of the Atomic Bomb", by Richard Rhodes. "Fermi instructed Weil to move the cadmium rod to a position which was about half-way out. [The adjustment brought the pile to] well below critical condition. The intensity rose, the scalers increased their rates of clicking for a short while, and then the rate became steady, as it was supposed to. Fermi busied himself at his slide rule, calculating the rate of increase, and noted the numbers on the back. He called to Weil to move the rod out another six inches. Again the neutron intensity increased and leveled off. The pile was still subcritical. Fermi had again been busy with his little slide rule and seemed very pleased with the results of his calculations. Every time the intensity leveled off, it was at the values he had anticipated for the position of the control rod." Date was December 2, 1942. If you have not read Rhodes book, I highly recommend it. A well written history of the people and the world at that time in history.
Dave Martindale
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Refers to 25408 Film:makers seem to assume that their viewers don't have any more technical knowledge than the filmmakers themselves. Another example: my wife and I watched "The Day After Tomorrow" last night. The story has several people navigating in a bad snowstorm, and the one guy (the nagivator) is using a GPS receiver. We are shown the screen of the GPSr several times, and in every case it is showing the "satellite status" display. This is typically what you see when you first turn the unit on while it is acquiring satellite signal; it shows you what satellites are being received but not where you are or how to get to your destination. No one using a GPSr would ever be looking at that screen while navigating. It was my wife who pointed this out. Anyone who had used a GPSr even once for navigation might have noticed this error. These days, I'll bet there are many times as many GPS-knowledgeable people than ones who can recognize the difference between a simple and sophisticated slide rule, yet the director or their technical advisor didn't bother to get this right.
Cthulhu Fatagn
Book: The Iron Cavalry
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The Iron Cavalry" by Ralph Zumbro - 1998 Poclet Books edn. At pg 163 "At 0620 hrs, a thousand British guns open up, already targeted by surveyors transit and slide rules opened up, firing up on geographic co-ordinates." Hey, way cool.
Mike Markowski
ISRG 25426
My 8 yr old son loves working with his hands and begged me to bring him to a local carving club. Because of his age, I have to attend as well and am actually having a lot of fun learning a new skill I had never thought about trying. Jonathan (my son) looked across the shop last night and said, "Look, Dad." We went over to a guy was carving a caricature in a lab coat with outstretched hands. The finishing touch was when the carver placed a newly carved slide rule about 3 or 4 cm long into the figure's hands. :-) He was impressed my son knew what a slide rule was. Then we got talking, and he said to this day he's still annoyed at a fellow engineer who years ago came in and leaned on his K&E, which was under a pile of blueprints, and cracked the cursor glass. He said, "I still have it, and, boy, do I wish I could find a replacement cursor." He forgot the model number but will look it up when I said there were parts to be found still. Back to the carving, he was trying to decide what color to paint the tiny rule saying Picketts weren't his favorite because the metal didn't feel nice to hold, so yellow was out. But then aesthetics came in, and he thought yellow would look better against the white lab coat. Anyway, you get the idea. It was a fun surprise for the topic to come up there.
Nels Tomlinson
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t's sort of a sighting, and sort of a slide rule. I was looking through a boat design forum, and found a link to this little paper: It mentions the ``... CATERPILLAR Hull Speed Estimator slide-rule. This was issued in 1961, under copyright, by the CATERPILLAR TRACTOR CO., Engine Division in Peoria, Illinois as Form No. 40-20442.'' Actually, it sounds like a slide chart. Has anyone every seen or heard of this one? I'd surely appreciate a picture, if some lucky soul has one.
Ronald van Riet
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Ever since 1999 we have had the top 2000 records of all times being broadcast between Christmas and New Year. Whilst driving happily along, there came number 1481: Sam Cooke - Wonderful World (1960) and all of a sudden the following part of the lyrics hit me: "Don't know what a slide rule is for" Never noticed that bit before. Is this the only occurence of a slide rule in a song?
ISRG 25764
Refers to 25760 I decided to do a google on +lyrics +"slide rule" to see what came up. I found (in addition to "Wonderful World (Don't Know Much)" which you mentioned): Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Drivin' Thunder "I ain't never going back to driving school. And I ain't too good with numbers And I've just run out of fuel Here comes another corner baby Let me demonstrate my slide rule." Tin Huey - Closet Bears "It's fuzzy in the closet, all the bears are depressed Their eyes are red, their paws are soiled, their slide-rule's a mess" Sinkcharmer - Breaking the Slide Rule (album title) Bruce Cockburn - Starwheel "crystal drift on the whistling wind -- constant change is the space we're in. you may use a slide rule or a golden crown but nothing's worth it that you can pin down -- see how the starwheel turns." Gordon Lightfoot - In My Fashion "Now take a look at me, do I look like the kind of guy, the kind of fool who went to school and had to stand on a stool because he couldn't come to terms with a slide rule?" Shawn Phillips - Technotronic Lad "Well he got out his toy computer Little slide rule in green Started calculation with a bit of fabrication On a world with his promised dream" Katrina and the Waves - Love Calculator "Put away your pencil, put away your slide-rule" Mike Agranoff - the Ballad of Jake and 10-Ton Molly "Jake had worked at Avco since 1954. No paneled office had he there, no name upon the door. But with slide-rule, square, and drafting board, intuition, faith, and zeal, He could take a wild half-baked idea and turn it into steel." The Doormat Singers - The Institute Screw "My CRC book is not here, my slide rule is at home" Jerry Douglas - Slide Rule (album title) Metropolitan - Slide Rule (I listened to a cut from the track and couldn't really understand any of the lyrics. But I did understand why the band was being billed as "Indie noise pop rock" after listening ... ) Jim Steinman - Making Love Weighing Nothing at All "And I know the laws of Newton. A solution must exist. I know all the rules, and I'm real good at math'matics, but I shouldn't need a slide rule for this!" Darediablo - Slide Rule (Only saw mention of the song in a review - haven't found a track or lyric sheet.) And some "Slide Rule Filk" songs for you: Icemark - My best friend's a TRS-80! (A parody version of the B-52's "Love Shack," the line "tin roof rusted!" in the original is changed to "slide rule broken!") Stephen Savitzky - Old Time Computing "Oh the slide-rule's age is hoary It has passed its hour of glory But lives on in song and story And it's good enough for me." The Brothers Four - The Thinkin' Man "When John Henry was a little baby, He was sittin' on his mammy's knee, When he picked up a slide rule and a book on mathematics, Sayin' "Thinkin's gonna be the job for me," Sayin' "Thinkin's gonna be the job for me." I found an amusing parody of a Who song (not sure who wrote it): "Slip stick, slip stick, do multiplication Using only rows C and D. Slip stick, slip stick, squared calculation: It's so easy, use A and B. So easy -- use A and B. It's a hard, hard knurl!" Okay ... I've looked through 150 of the links that came up from the google search (there were a total of 3,570 hits for +lyrics +"slide rule"). Apparently, the slide rule is much loved as a lyrical symbol. :-) -=- While I was hunting for slide rule lyrics, I also found this really nifty page telling how to use a slide rule as a bicycle gear chart! And this quote from a biography of Frank Zappa: "Zappa once said he felt ''stuck between the slide rule and the gutbucket'' and much of his career could be seen as an attempt to reconcile those two extremes." I also found: "The pulsing, gyrating "Tigers in the Temple" recalls "Y" era Pop Group with a slide rule funky rhythm section and repetitive staccato guitar riff" which leads me to wonder if "slide rule" is some obscure musical term? "This warm-up gig/drinking-money fund-raiser at the Bottom of the Hill may be your last chance to experience Victims Family's hectic time changes, sardonic lyrics, and volcanic blasts of slide-rule hardcore at a local venue." Again with the slide-rule music? "Noise from the post-punk kingdom: Illinois (by way of Wisconsin) slide-rule-rockers Braid share a stage with more hair-product-friendly punk bands" Okay, enough of this taunting! I must look it up. What is "slide-rule-rock"? "The more we get out on the road, the more I find people who are really getting into this whole 'math rock' genre of indie bands, like us and the dazzling killmen and rodan. At least thats what its being called - at least one person in virtually every city comes up to one of us praising math rock (or slide rule rock as Tommy Tar likes to poke at). although the best moniker i've heard recently was from one of mcclelland's relative's who called us cranial precision rock, or CPR :) I liked that one." "King Crimson If you can tap your foot in time to the square root of 11, then head to 12th & Porter to catch these avatars of slide-rule rock, featuring Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew." 1:June_14-20_2001:Arts:Our_Critics_Picks Okay ... if you're as puzzled by this as I am, here's a page that attempts to explain what Math Rock is: A quote from Bono of the band U2: "If we're in the studio trying to build the rocket," says Bono, "Edge is under the hood with his slide rule, I'm trying to become fuel, Larry is pointing out the reasons it'll never fly, and Adam's asking, 'Do we really want to go there?' They're always reasonable and usually correct — and I hate them for it." And a very funny re-writing of "A Christmas Carol" by Stanford University physics students: [Enter the Ghost of Christmas Past stage left, with slide rule.] Scrooge: [Looks up] Nice slide rule. Ghost of Christmas Past: Thanks! Scrooge: Now go away. While I was at it, I tried a googlism ( for slide rule and it told me "Sorry, google doesn't know enough about slide rule yet." Well ... why the heck not?
Dave Thompson
Film: Goodbye Mr. Chips
ISRG 25805
Just finished watching the excellent 2003 remake of "Goodbye Mr. Chips" starring Martin Clunes. A large part of the film is set in an English Public School during World War I. Towards the end of the film there is a classroom scene where Mr. Chips, a Latin master, is holding a discussion with his pupils on Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire whilst two World War I biplanes are staging a dog fight over the school. Clearly visible on the top of a bookcase is a Fullers Calculator cylindrical slide rule, uncased and standing on end. I could not make out the model because the instrument is only visible for about 3 seconds as the camera pans across the room. Although the Fullers Calculator is contemporary with the World War I scene, its inclusion must surely be erroneous as the artisanal associations of the device render it totally out of context in the classroom of an English Public School. The only conclusion that I can draw to justify the presence of this instrument is that the classroom must have been used by the Remove.
Willy Reid
Book: State of Fear
ISRG 25889
I see some spam email from the "world science group" that they have gotten from email addresses listed through the Slide Rule group. Interesting how our list has become their list. Anyone from the SR group know anything about this "science" group? Are they a bunch of rabid mouth foaming fake-environmentalist nut jobs out to return the human race to gathering roots and berries, or are they interested in making the world a better place through real facts and real science? 10x10=100 By the way, Michael Chrichtons new book "state of fear" is very interesting. It mentions a slide rule. It is about the paranoia and illogic concerning Science today that seems to be run by a bunch of hysterical mentally damaged "environmentalist" money grubbers. "Those" environmentalists, not the "real" invironmentalists who make personal sacrifices, and use facts and a "slide rule" to ensure the health of the environment. It is an important piece of literature at this point in time because we are facing the same "hysteria" from evil forces in the Middle East War using lies to gain support. Just like the lies told in the 60's--sponsored by the coal mining unions-- who were against safe and clean atomic power. These phonies are now beginning to accuse the Western World of using technology to cause the Tsunami, among other things. Undersea atomic blasts, electromagnetic and low frequency sound weapons the new liars are claiming caused the Tsunami in the mainstream Arab news media. Maybe the Slide Rule group could arrange a SR parachute drop over populations that say 10x10=100 is a big conspiracy. Another case of fiction over fact. Your slide rule is evil.
Joe Bento
Magazine: Electric Radio
ISRG 25931
Any ham operators that subscribe to the magazine "Electric Radio" may have been pleased to see a slide rule (looks like a Versalog) in the forground of the month's (January 2005) feature project. You can have a look of the cover at: Electric Radio magazine features vintage vacuum tube equipment and projects, so the slide rule is a perfect fit. (Rod: Sadly the image is not available on the Wayback machine.)
Marion Moon
TV: Auschwitz
ISRG 25968
This may be a repeat but I haven't seen it described. In the PBS series "Auschwitz", the first segment describes the architectural design offices where the various building were first designed. One scene shows a work table with drawings and instruments on it with a (definitely to me) a well worn slip top card board slide rule case but no rule. In the second segment, a similar view show drawings with a slide rule on the table. This appears to be a Rietz type but possibly a Darnstadt type -- the scene was very short.
Cyril Catt
Magazine: New Scientist
ISRG 25975
The 22 January 2005 Australian edition of New Scientist, No2483, pp 48-49 carries an article " The Slide Rule Orchestra" about the work of British meteorologist Lewis Fry Richardson 1881-1953. Before WW I he envisaged a large room crowded with 'calculators', each armed with a slide rule and adding machine, and each working on differential equations for weather data in separate map grid cells. His idea was to develop equations which could predict the weather. As a Quaker, he volunteered for ambulance duty in WWI, and worked on his equations when off duty. But the manuscript was lost during a battle. After the war he repeated the work and published it in 1922 as "Weather Prediction by the Numerical Process", which was seminal enough to warrant a reprint in 1965. He had returned to his job with the UK Meteorological Office, but when a government shuffle placed it under the control of the Air Ministry, his pacifist feelings led him to resign. This was a major loss to meteorology. Thereafter, until his death he applied his statistical abilities to study the causes and prevention of war. He published "Mathematical Psychology of War" in 1919, and gained a degree in Psychology in 1929. A major major work was published posthumously as "Statistics of Deadly Quarrels", edited by Quincy Wright and C. C. Lienau (1960, The Boxwood Press, Pittsburgh; Quadrangle Books, Chicago; and Stevens & Sons, London). Richardson estimated that it would need 64,000 'calculators' for his 'orchestra' to predict the global weather, although others estimated at least 204,800 would be needed to just keep up with incoming data.
Miles Schumacher
Magazine: New Scientist
ISRG 25977
Refers to 25975 This was a facinating story for a fellow Meteorologist. Interesting that numerical weather prediction was contemplated that long ago. Who would have thought where it would go today. It was discovered early on that there were many more calculations than could possibly be done by hand on a slide rule, or even by people on calculating machines. Parallel processing is very important in numerical weather prediction. The estimate of 64,000 to 204,800 calculations to predict the the global atmosphere turned out to be very low. There are many models around now around the world. In the U.S., the national center runs models out to 16 days 4 times per day. Each time requires a super computer running at several teraflops a couple of hours to run each run. I think we'd all burn up our slide rules similar to calculations that show the temperature Santa Clause would obtain if he really reached very house in the world in one night :)
Ken Osborn
Film: An Officer and a Gentleman
ISRG 25979
Check out 'Officer and a Gentleman.' Classroom scene where OCS recruits are given a Bernouli's (sp?) problem and the one woman in the group pulls out a slide rule.
Steven Horii
ISRG 25998
I'm not sure if this has been posted before. This Web site: is devoted to old air defense sites. If you navigate to: Radar equipment and then Manual ops equipment you will find images of several unusual slide rules - circular and one linear (this latter is one I have never seen before). Have fun!
Marion Moon
TV: The Wrath of God
ISRG 26004
The History Channel show "The Wrath of God" which talked about tsunamis in Hawaii had some shots from the warning center in about 1960. In one scene, a scientist was using what appeared to be a big Atlas circular slide rule. It certainly fit the era.
Richard Lyon
Book: Wunder der Wellen (Miracle of the Waves)
ISRG 26016
sighting: dedication page of Wunder der Wellen (Miracle of the Waves), 1935, by Eduard Rhein (a book on radio and television, written in old German typeface that's very hard for me to read) "Meinen schaffenden Freunden und Kameraden in den Forschungs-Werkstätten, hinter Reissbrett und Rechenschieber" (My creative friends and comrades in the research workshops, behind drawing board and slide rule)
Cyril Catt
Magazine: Mobile PC
ISRG 26180
� If you're younger than 40, you can thank HP for the fact that you've never had to use a slide rule.� is the comment about the HP-35, listed 15th among Mobile PC's "Top 100 Gadgets of all time" at (no doubt the omission of the alphabet, numeric ciphers, and the wheel, amongst others, is a matter of semantics) (Rod: Use the Wayback Machine
William Drylie
ISRG 26190
here is a lengthy article with two pictures about the University at Buffalo's slide rule and calculator exhibit. The article is mostly about slide rules. The pictures are of rules. Go to This is a very good article with one of the curators demonstrating how to wear your slide rule "gunslinger" style.
William Drylie
Magazine: The Visible Self
ISRG 26190
The second is a reprint from a magazine article dealing with Social issues in Society called the Visible Self. It was reprinted from an article from the New York Times July 21st 1998 and it is entitled "Scruffy is Badge of Pride, But some Physicists Long For Cool" It basically speaks of the time when scientists and engineers carried slide rules visibly to proclaim their occupation and with the advent of the electronic calculator slide rules vanished and no substitute icon of professional status was available. It mentions Keuffel & Esser as being a top of the line slide rule and an emblem of professional identity that suggested intelligence and education. The authors name is Malcolm W. Browne. My wife gave me the article today, she is doing graduate work and is presently researching peoples attire as a social issue. Subscribers to the NY Times would be able to access this article through the online archives. I will see if I can find a link somewhere via the web where everyone might be able to view it.
William Drylie
Film: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
ISRG 26190
The last sighting is in the movie "Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow". About 15 minutes or so into the film the scientist Dex is using what appears to be a Nestler or Faber Castell rule to do some triangulating of a position on a map. There is also a circular on the table, but you have to look close for that one. There are two spots with the rule, about three or four seconds each. I'm not much of a Science Fiction fan, but this was a pretty good movie, a mixture of old and new technology, kinda puts you in mind of Isaac Asimov's work with all the robots in the movie. A few years before the end of the slide rule, K&E hired the Futures Group to publish a projected report of the future and how technology would advance exponentially and people would be living in joined domed cities with outside transporation not requiring wheels or petroleum fuels. New and more advanced slide rules had to be designed and manufactured to meet the needs of this technology the summary mentioned. It is ironic that the group did not predict the demise of the slide rule with it's predictions of advancing technology. Bill Drylie P. S. A Sioux medicine man here in North Dakota once told me that it is traditional thought for them that someone or something lives on only as long as the last person who remembers it. That is why they pass stories of their tribe and their tradtions from one generation to the next. It seems to me it is like this with slide rules. I have a feeling that with the help of groups like this, the slide rule will live on from generation to generation.
TV: Howard Hughes Tech
ISRG 26281
I just saw a slide rule sighting on the History Channel. The subject was Howard Hughes Tech. I thought it was rather appropriate when they showed a slide rule being used to design the electronic missle guidance system. It looked like a Pickett, but I could not positiviely identify it.
Russell Weaver
DVD: The Goodies
ISRG 26354
Way back in the '70's here in the UK the BBC had a very popular comedy show called 'The Goodies'. It revolved around the inept money making antics of three characters who do "Anything, AnyTime, Anywhere". There was a layabout hippy, an upper class twit and a clueless nerdy type. The show ran for nearly ten years and though it hasn't been seen here for 25 years it is remembered with great affection. A month or so ago a DVD was released containing eight episodes (for those who may be interested it's called "The Goodies...At Last a Second Helping"). The first episode on the disc, called "Radio Goodies", has the slide rule. It tells the story of Our Heroes' attempt to make money by setting up a pirate (i.e. illegal) radio station and post office in a submarine attached to a rowing boat in the English Channel (it's funnier than it sounds). The opening scene shows the nerdy one using a slide rule whilst designing the radio transmitter. He continues to wave it about for several minutes until near the end of the scene he places it very carefuly on a table. The rule is a plastic open frame type with metal end straps and appears to have an all plastic duplex cursor. At a guess it looks like one of Faber Castells' products. "Radio Goodies" was first broadcast 20th December 1970.
Atsushi Tomozawa
Newspaper: Nikkei and Mainichi
ISRG 26358
This is a follow up to Paul Ross's report of a news article of the Hemmi re-creation project. Our Hemmi slide rule re-creation project was reported in two of the major newspapers in Japan, Nikkei (February 10, 2005) and Mainichi (March 2, 2005.) I have uploaded the pictures which accompanied the articles to photos section of ISRG site. They are in a folder named "Hemmi SR re-creation Pj." BTW, The guy with a lot of SRs is supposed to be designing a plastic model airplane as a hobby. According to him, the photographer wanted to put more rules than necessary "to make it lively." These articles seem to have created a wave of interest in slide rules. We received more than 100 inquiries for the project. We are considering to up the order to 300 instead of the previous 200. Access to SR auctions at Yahoo Japan seem to have jumped. One seller says he received more than 1,000 hits to one of his SR auctions at Yahoo in less than 9 hours since he posted it, and wonders what is going on? Below is the link to the on-line version of Mainichi article. There is an image of a girl holding a SR. If you want to fully enjoy the article, you may want to use a web translation service. (Combine lines into one if your browser breaks the link into 2 lines.) (Rod: Link not found on Wayback Machine)
Ron McConnell
Magazine: Over the Hedge
ISRG 26499
"Over the Hedge" by Michael Fry and T Lewis, 2005 Mar 16 RJ the raccoon uses a slide rule to calculate his purity of heart for his application for Knighthood. :) Never an end to applications of the slide rule... You'll be able to view the strip on the server for the next two weeks so print it out if you'd like to save it for posterity. I did a right click and "Save Image." (Rod: Link not found on Wayback Machine)
Jon Iza
Location: Museum of Science Valencia
ISRG 26800
ast week I visited the Museum of Science at the City of the Arts and the Sciences from Valencia, Spain. On a permanent showroom, I saw the slide rule from Severo Ochoa, Nobel Prize of Physiology or Medicine in 1959. Along with it, there were some lab books with kinetic experiments and plots. I couldn´t find any name on the rule, and it seemed of English manufacture, but it was unfamiliar to me. BTW, the museum building is amazing...
James Stephens
Magazine: Physics Today
ISRG 27566
More of a mention, actually. On page 55 of the current Physics Today (June 2005) is an ad for Molecular Imaging. The ad has pictures of Magellan and Einstein, and the headline "Great explorers use great tools...Magellan had a compass. Einstein used a slide rule." Nice to think that an ad aimed at contemporary scientific professionals would mention a slide rule.
Andreas Dunker
Film: The Hunt for Red October
ISRG 27609
I've just seen "The Hunt for Red October" with Sean Connery. It was only a very short scene, but one of the russion officers seems to use a circular slide rule. Can anyone confirm this?
Gary Lazarus
Film: The Hunt for Red October
ISRG 27657
Refers to 27609 It has been a while since I've seen that fabulous movie. But I would be sure he'd have been using what they call a "1936" template and a Bearing Rate Computer, being the circular slide rule you saw. Using Bearing rate, Own Ship speed, time, and your blood group. You can some how calculate the the contact (other ship) bearing and range using a passive intercept. I'm looking for the instructions for such a circular slide rule (Bearing Rate Computer) at present. It would make for a fascinating case study in basic applied trig. I'll publish it online once I locate a copy or develop a step process myself.
Marion Moon
TV: Paint History Channel
ISRG 28074
History Channel did one on paint last night. In one laboratory scene, a worker was shown using a slide rule. Perhaps posing with a slide rule and his technique was very poor if he truly was doing some computation.
Carl Scwent
ISRG 28145
Who would have thought that pop star Janis Joplin was a member her high school's Slide Rule Club? Yahoo Auctions currently has a copy of Jefferson High School's 1958 Yearbook, Joplin's sophomore year, with this information. Since it has her autograph in it they want $7500. Think I'll pass, but if anyone is interested it's at
John Mosand
ISRG 28501
Here is a very unusual sighting. It was presented at the recent SR meeting in Germany. On Google, go to '', then 'Was ist neu?' and select 'Pape in Mexico?'. It is unknown if this man was related to the Pape family in 'Dennert & Pape'. Anyway, it is interesting, a sculpture of a man with a slide rule in his hand.
John Mosand
ISRG 28510
Refers to 28501 Martin Pape died in 1884, 50 years old, and already from then on the Pape family was out of 'Dennert & Pape'. They kept the company name because it was well established in the trade. Harold Pape was born in 1903, so he could conceivably have been a close relative, even a grandson! Another thing is that looking closely at the slide rule Harold Pape holds in his hand, it looks very much like an Aristo (Dennert & Pape): end brace on one side only, with a slanted profile, a typical Aristo. Did the sculptor actually have Harold's SR in hand? Although being an American (it doesn't say that he was born in the USA!), could it be that he was very conscious of his family history? These are only speculations, of course, but it fits and makes one wonder...
Marion Moon
Newspaper: Washington Pshington Post and LA Times
ISRG 28726
The Washington Post and LA Times published an obituary last week on Heinz Heinemann. He was a retired petroleum chemist. He was denied his PhD in Germany because he was Jewish. He completed his degree in Switzerland and immigrated to the US in 1938. In the early 1940s, he developed ethanol for the Dominican Republic based on their sugar supply. During WWII, "he was sent to Little Rock, AR to teach a group of women how to work with petroleum catalysts. He solved the problem of their unfamiliarity with basic math by teaching them how to use slide rules".
John Conway Jnr.
DVD: The Dish
ISRG 28936
I was in my local video rental store a couple days ago and picked out the DVD titled: The Dish. It stars Sam Neill and is about the personnel who manned the radio telescope dish in Parks, Australia during the Apollo 11 mission. There are a couple of scenes where one of the engineers is working with, and then just holding, a slide rule. It looks to me to be a Polyphase, though, I could not make out the manufacturer. The first reference to the slide rule comes when, showing his girl friend around the operations room, the engineer responds to her query as to how they can find such a small target in space. He points to an old computer with a reel to reel tape drive and says something to the effect that it can calculate in 20 seconds what used to take him five hours on a slide rule >:( Oh, well...there is some vindication later in the program. As it turns out, prior to the moon landing, there is a power drop out and the uninterrupted power supply fails because the guy responsible forgets to prime the fuel lines on the back up generator's fuel pump after routine maintenance. Data in the computer is wiped, Apollo 11 is lost to them and our erstwhile scientific heroes appear screwed. Enter the blackboard and slide rule to save the day. In a blizzard of brainstorming and calculating, the team strives to come up with a method to reacquire the spacecraft before anyone in NASA is the wiser. I'll leave it to you to rent the movie and find out what happens. It's not a bad way to kill a couple hours.
Bob Gess
DVD: The Dish
ISRG 29770
Another slide rule sighting in the Australian movie: "The Dish". "Glenn" uses his slide rule while calculating antenna look angles for Apollo 11. The slide rule is never in sharp enough focus to determine the scales and model, but, if I had to guess, I think it could be an Albert Nestler 0210 (it's wooden with a white back - a somewhat unusual combination). The movie is a dry comedy about the radio telescope in Parkes, Australia used to broadcast the first moonwalk to the world. It's based on a true story, although virtually all of the details are changed to avoid losing the audience in techie details (all of the problems have to be easy to understand and have common sense solutions that even a person with no satellite tracking experience could think of). The real true story is as fascinating as the movie, for those interested.
John Mosand
DVD: The Dish
ISRG 29775
Refers to 29770 The combination wood w/all white back is probably unusual, as you are saying, but also found on other SRs, e.g. some by Dennert & Pape. D&P patented the celluloid laminate, as applied to slide rules and drafting instruments. (DRP 34583 and DRP 126499.)
Bill S.
ISRG 29787
Who says all them young whipper-snappers is ignurnt? I posted a sighting report a couple of days ago. The webcomic (one word, like "sliderule" or two, like "slide rule"?) is called "Questionable Content". I'd rate it at about a PG-13 based on language and themes, but there's no nudity. Should also have credited Daughter Alice (14, the HS freshman), who is reading the comic at the instigation of Daughter Briget (19, the college freshman) for bringing that particular sighting to my attention. The author of the webcomic is a twenty-something near in age to Eldest Daughter Beth and Son Pete. All four of my kids at LEAST know their way around a C/D scale.
Rob Walton
ISRG 29994
Refers to 29902 Obviously this item was for the devo-lution crowd. Or, to figure out where to place significant figure emphasis. I was given one of these new by the manufacturer, and used it often to check the accuracy of the electronic calculator. There was a rumor around that the new calculators worked just fine until the battery started getting weak, at which point they would just start giving the wrong answer. ha ha. Actually the idea was to show people how much "more accurate" a calculator was. I pointed out to one of the corporate heads that when significant figures were used in real life engineering calculations, for instance, there was no difference in accuracy--unless of course some poor engineer was forced to use the lousy slide rule they stuck on the back, or if someone was too stoned to know where a decimal point belonged. He summed it up nicely when he replied that the truth didn't matter, and that people loved pushing buttons. After all, he said, these calculators are for the kids to play with, and to balance a checkbook--not to replace real engineers.
George Kaplan
TV: Good Eats
ISRG 30014
On the Food Network yesterday, 27 March, at 7:00PM PST, the "Good Eats" program was about rice. At one point, the host, Alton Brown, said that the old standard of two cups water for each cup of rice was inaccurate, and it wasn't a constant ratio anyway. One cup of rice just needs 1 1/2 cup of water, 2 cups rice takes 2 3/4 cups water, and 3 cups rice needs just 3 1/2 cups water. Then he reached into a drawer, pulled out a slide rule and said, "If you had a slide rule, and knew how to use it, then you could come up with a formula...". It was a 10-inch duplex rule (white), about the size of a 4081-3, but I couldn't make out any details. So how about it? Can you come up with a formula?
Paul Huff
TV: Numbers
ISRG 30047
Perhaps a list member has already posted this, but a slide rule was briefly used in the most recent episode of the TV show "Numbers" (Fridays on CBS). In the scene Larry, a scientist who is assisting the FBI, is trying to reenact the events of a murder and he uses a slide rule to simulate a knife. The FBI agent who is working with him tells him that he is not holding the knife/slide rule correctly. He grabs it out of Larry's hand and proceeds to simulate cutting his throat with it. The slide rule was a one-sided, closed-frame, 10" wooden rule with white laminate. It looked like the back of the rule had a conversion- factor type label on it. This isn't exactly a new use for a slide rule. I can remember "knifing" and "stabbing" classmates and myself many times when I was young!
Marion Moon
TV: Advertisement
ISRG 30693
saw a TV ad last night for a Tylenol tablet. The opening was a biology class room with all kinds of DNA stuff on the chalk board. In a closing scene, a desk top showed a bottle with a slide rule in the back ground. It appeared to be a rather common-looking white plastic duplex rule. Rather unusual for this period being represented I thought.
Mike Bauer
Film: Island in the Sky
ISRG 31107
FYI, just saw John Wayne's "Island in the Sky." Interesting film, hadn't seen this one before, worth a rent - especially if you're a flyer (I'm not). A couple of the navigators in this film (1950's made, WWII-era subject) use the circular slide rule with attached card that I've come to recognize since joining this group. And some attempt has been made to make it look like they're really working the devices. Additionally, pilots pull out of their pockets a circular slide rule of dark material (it's a B&W film) for flight time and fuel estimating, but mostly wave the thing around for a moment. In a weird coincidence, I also just re-watched the original "Thing." The navigator's slide rule makes a brief appearance as a hand-held prop here, too. The coincidence? Both films feature Jim Arness, take place in the artic and feature similar (same?) 2-engined Army transport planes.
Earl Dille
%Film: Island in the Sky
ISRG 31114
While I was a Navy pilot (early 1950s) we used the E6B quite a lot. It was a circular slide rule with an attachment used to calculate drift (the effect of wind on your true course). Crews of multi-engine aircraft also used the bubble octant, which was more effective than a sextant, particularly when there was no visible horizon. Even though we had Loran, the receivers would sometimes crap out, and Loran coverage was not 100%. Many big aircraft also had specialized slide rules for calculating weight and balance. Having a center of gravity too far forward or too far aft could cause big problems, like crashing.
Paul H
TV: Advertisement
ISRG 31145
Tonight I saw a TV advertisement for Tylenol that included a quick shot of a slide rule. The ad showed a woman, who from the setting in the scene is apparently a science teacher, talk about some of her health problems that have developed as she has aged. When she talks about doing her "research" to find a pain reliever that will not interact with some of her prescription medications the scene briefly cuts to a desk with books on it and a slide rule sitting right in the middle of it. I couldn't identify the rule but it did have a lot of scales on it. I wonder how you would use a slide rule to research known drug interactions? I guess that even after all these years of calculators and computers the slide rule still carries a mystique of intelligence to it! :-)
Michael McBride
TV: Millenium
ISRG 31187
Name of Book-Show-Movie: Millennium (produced by Chris Carter who did the X Files); episode: "Luminary" (about 1/3 way through the episode). Year of relase (if known): 01/23/98 Type of rule (if possible): My best guess is a K & E; uncertain of the model. Character Associated dialog if any: Frank Black (profiler; consultant with the Millennium Group); no particular dialog. What the character was doing: Frank was searching for a missing 18 y/o male. The slide rule was on a map of Alaska while he was estimating distances with a caliper. Comments: I had bought all 3 seasons of Millennium and really got excited when I saw that slide rule in a present day setting of 1998. My family thought I was crazy.
Mike Bauer
Film: Flight to Mars
ISRG 31367
1. "Flight to Mars" -- expedition to Mars encounters dying civilization in satin miniskirts. Female earth lead uses slide rule to compute navigational coordinates during voyage. Shots of drafting and draftsmen at work, with tools, also.
Mike Bauer
Film: Angry Red Planet
ISRG 31367
2. "Angry Red Planet" -- expedition to Mars encounters thriving civilization that kicks them off-planet. Craft commander uses 10-inch slide rule in two scenes, (a) to compute navigational coordinates, (b) as a hand prop carried during a conversation, and used for emphasis. Possible other sighting of a dark-colored circular rule used (set and read) by radioman. Bonus: for afficiandos of early computers and related equipment, the spacecraft control room is essentially four jet fighter seats clustered around a Burroughs 205 minicomputer. Earthbound computers are featured, too.
Joe Bento
Magazine: Nuts and Bolts
ISRG 31450
Check out the November issue of "Nuts and Volts" magazine - as a subscriber, my issue arrived today, 10/23. One of the feature articles is titled, "An Electronic Slide Rule". It describes making a simple slide rule from logarithmic paper, as well as demonstrating addition with two regular rulers. Later, the article goes into making an electronic slide rule (an analog multiplier.) Quite interesting reading!
Magazine: CQ Amateur Radio Communications and Technology
ISRG 31491
The November 2006 issue of CQ Amateur Radio Communications & Technology magazine has a short article (by Kent Britain, WA5VJB) in the antennas section, page 82, on calculating the length of a dipole antenna for a given frequency. Photo A is a picture of a Pickett, N902-ES I think, slide rule. The only reference to the picture in the article is the ending comment on over accuracy . "… I need to take away your calculator and whap ya on the knuckles with my pocket slide rule."
Graeme Walker
Book: Codename: Mulberry
ISRG 31575
Code Name:Mulberry by Guy Hartcup (ISBN 1844154343) which is the history of the Mulberry harbours built & used on D-day in WW2, I came across the following: Ellsberg (Cmdre US Navy salvage officer)was on the beachhead and was asked by Clark (Capt. A. D. USN) if it would be possible to to use a lighter float, intended to carry a 25-ton load, for the Sherman tanks weighing 38 tons. Or would they submerge under the strain? Ellsberg, who had a slide rule with him, set to work to measure a float and then spent most of the night in Clark's headquarters ship working out the problem. He was able to reassure Clark, "The 25-ton pontoons would remain afloat, though only by an eyelash, under a 38-ton load, but I guarantee they would remain afloat." Ellsberg himself, walking backwards over the half-mile to the shore, supervised the passage of the leading tank on 16 June. That's really trusting a slide rule calculation & accuracy!
Mike Bauer
Book: e: The Story of a Number
ISRG 31616
Good book, author is Eli Maor. Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691- 03390-0. Besides the main topic math content, has interesting biographical details on Napier, Briggs and Oughtred (and Delamain, who apparently had a priority dispute with Oughtred). Including how Napier's logs actually were constructed and how Briggs transformed them into the form we now know. I'm still reading the volume, but I now have a better contextual understanding of this material than perhaps I did when I took my math sequence in college. Slide rules and related material only takes a few pages, but I think the rest of the book is interesting enough to recommend to this group. One editorial comment from the book: "...As for logarithmic tables, they fared a little better [than slide rules]: one can still [1994] find them at the back of algebra textbooks, a mute reminder of a tool that has outlived its usefulness [as opposed to the logarithmic function]. It won't be long, however, before they too will be a thing of the past." Square brackets are my comments.
Marion Moon
ISRG 31766
I saw an interview with Jean Auel today. She is the author of the Earth's Children books, the latest which is the Shelters of Stone. Among other topics, she was asked about her education. She repied that she had studied mathematics (calculus, physics and other science topics) and yes, she could use a slide rule.
Mike Yancey
ISRG 32334
I haven't posted in a long while, but I have been reading (lurking, if you will). Long story - short, S.R. related: I read a nice essay in OpinionJournal today about bookplates: Turns out there's a smallish company that still prints them. Take a look at bookplate # M614: It's a superb bookplate for science, math, and radio books; a pen, resting on a slide rule, resting on an open text (reading "Ex Libris" at the top). In the background, a schematic, an oscilloscope, a graph, a 50's 'atomic' graphic, some integrals. Thought the group might find it interesting both as something that has a S.R. integrated into the design that's still available for sale. I think I might buy some. It's a very small company, but it dates back to the 1920s. They even have a 'flash' based preview so you can pick the bookplate, a font, and see how your own would look. Best Regards, & see some of y'all at the Antique Science & Retro Tech sale March 10, 2007.
Al Witzgall
Film: When Worlds Collide
ISRG 32338
I'm not sure if anyone else out there has already seen these, but here goes: 1) When Worlds Collide (1951) - about 35 minutes into the film, Barbara Rush's character uses a slide rule (unable to determine the make) to verify what the 'D-A' (differential analyser - looks like Univac) has confirmed, that the Earth is doomed. (The books were better!) 2) Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1960) - 28 minutes in, Walter Pigeon's Admiral Nelson uses what looks like a Dietzgen 1733 to calculate the angle of trajectory and location on Earth to fire a Polaris nuclear missile to blow away the "burning Van Allen Belt"! (I have one of those SRs and the metal framed cursor is easy to spot on the DVD version of the film). If these have been repeats of prior sightings, I apologize. It was just fun to see the SRs in action, even if in sci-fi! BTW - I remember seeing somewhere an old science fiction magazine cover illustration of a 'space pirate' boarding a ship with a slide rule, rather than a knife, in his teeth!! Anyone got a copy of that picture?
Al Witzgall
Film: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
ISRG 32338
I'm not sure if anyone else out there has already seen these, but here goes: 1) When Worlds Collide (1951) - about 35 minutes into the film, Barbara Rush's character uses a slide rule (unable to determine the make) to verify what the 'D-A' (differential analyser - looks like Univac) has confirmed, that the Earth is doomed. (The books were better!) 2) Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1960) - 28 minutes in, Walter Pigeon's Admiral Nelson uses what looks like a Dietzgen 1733 to calculate the angle of trajectory and location on Earth to fire a Polaris nuclear missile to blow away the "burning Van Allen Belt"! (I have one of those SRs and the metal framed cursor is easy to spot on the DVD version of the film). If these have been repeats of prior sightings, I apologize. It was just fun to see the SRs in action, even if in sci-fi! BTW - I remember seeing somewhere an old science fiction magazine cover illustration of a 'space pirate' boarding a ship with a slide rule, rather than a knife, in his teeth!! Anyone got a copy of that picture?
Ariel Weinberg
TV: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
ISRG 32339
Another one for the movie list: the visually beautiful but utterly silly Sky Captain And the World Of Tomorrow (2004), in which the scientist sidekick uses a slide rule and an oscilloscope to calculate the location of incoming invading flying robots.
Jeff Weiner
Book: Destination Moon
ISRG 32341
Well, now that Al's brought up old movies, I have a challenge: I have a copy of _Destination Moon_, and whilst I've observed a real, live differential analyze, and the protagonists using volumnous math tables, I've seen NO slide rules. Not one. And this is quintessential 1950's tech, too. Am I losing it?
Magazine: Wall Street Journal
ISRG 32526
A story in the Wall Street Journal, March 18 edition, page P18, "Spanning The Impossible, The Building of the Golden Gate Bridge defied the odds" describes the designer as Professor Charles Ellis, University of Chicago....."whose calculations, all done with a circular slide rule and an adding machine, filled several volumes..." It would be interesting to know what circular slide rule the professor used!!!
Graeme Walker
Book: Flour Manufacture
Charles Oxford
Location: Kentucky
ISRG 32978
In 1943, a horse named Slide Rule placed 3rd in the Kentucky Derby.
George Keane
Location: Kentucky
ISRG 32982
Refers to 32978 From Captain Acumath. Why a race horse would be named "Slide Rule" is not known to me. But, speculating, it may have had something to do with the fact that a number of Handicapper Slide Rules were being developed and the owner was making an editorial comment. Delaney's Horse Handicapper (1950) and the Automatic Handicapper (1947) followed by the famous Taulbot's Pace Calculator (1965) were a few developed later. The jockey that rode the horse "Slide Rule" to 3rd place in the 1943 Kentucky Derby was the well known and popular Conn McCreary (June 17, 1921 - June 28, 1979) The thoroughbred jockey and trainer, was born and raised near Festus, Mo. but graduated from high school in St. Louis. McCreary traveled to Lexington, Ky., hoping to make his fortune at the racetrack. His mother had bought him a bus ticket, and had pinned inside his jacket a note declaring that her son had permission to travel. McCreary soon became a jockey and never left racing. Conn rode in 8,802 races and produced 1,251 winners during a twenty-one-year career from 1939 to 1959. His mounts earned a total of $7,822,624. Throughout his career, McCreary was among the most popular jockeys in the country. Known as the "Mighty Mite" and "Convertible Conn". He was noted for his ability to save a horse until late in a race, gaining a reputation as a come-from-behind rider. In 1974, McCreary became the forty-eighth jockey elected to the Hall of Fame of the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Aboard Pensive in 1944, McCreary won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but fell short of the Triple Crown when he was beaten in a photo finish with Bounding Home in the Belmont Stakes. In the Derby, he came from thirteenth place to win the contest. His career seemed to end in 1950, when a succession of losses caused him to hang up his tack. But then came a horse named Count Turf. The owner was Jack Amiel, and the jockey was Conn McCreary. Together the three of them pulled off one of the greatest upsets in Kentucky Derby history. A son of the great Count Fleet (the 1943 derby winner) and the grandson of Raleigh Count (who won the 1928 derby), Count Turf failed to live up to his pedigree as a two-year-old. Still, owner Amiel wanted to win a Kentucky Derby and he was convinced Count Turf was the horse that could do it for him. No one else gave the animal any chance at all. In fact, Sol Rutchick, who trained Count Turf, flatly refused to have anything to do with what he considered a hopeless pipe dream. Jack Amiel was adamant, however, and Rutchick suggested he get George "Slim" Sulley, who had trained some excellent horses during his career. In 1951 Sulley was 70 years old and in semiretirement, but he took the job. Now all Amiel needed was a jockey. Experts everywhere--from the sports desks of the country's biggest newspapers to the fans in the stands were sure Amiel was wasting his time. When Amiel announced his jockey selection as Conn McCreary they were sure it was to be a disaster. On race day, 1951, a full field of 20 went to the gate. Count Turf was ignored by almost everyone at the betting windows, and he left the gate a 16-1 long shot. The favorite of the betting public was Battle Morn, ridden by Eddie Arcaro. Second favorite was Fanfare, bred by Calumet Farm. When the gates flew open, Count Turf got off slowly. Seventeen horses broke in front of him. Before long, though, he was running eleventh, with a clear shot at the lead even with so big a field. A horse called Repertoire was in the lead when McCreary asked Count Turf to run. Run he did, gobbling up ground with each stride as first one and then another horse fell into his wake. At the top of the stretch, Count Turf was already a length and a half the best, and he went on to win the 77th Kentucky Derby by four lengths, the favorites running fifth and sixth. Jack Amiel realized a dream, McCreary's career got a new boost, and a 70-year-old trainer and a three-year-old colt helped complete a script written, not in Hollywood, but in Louisville, Ky., on Derby Day. Some material extracted from "Conn McCreary." Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 10: 1976-1980. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1995.
Cyron Lawson
Magazine: Tech Topics
ISRG 33062
In the Summer '07 issue of "Tech Topics" (magazine of the Ga. Tech Alum. Assoc.), is a photo of Tech-related artifacts collected over the years since ca. 1904 by a family, several of whose members were students/grads. Prominent in the photo is an "A.W. Faber's Calculating Rule" with a person's name and "1908" written on the exposed end of the half tube-box. The rule appears to be a typical Mannheim design with scales A=B, CI, C=D. No cursor is visible. Since the family came from a small town in Georgia, I would infer that the rule was most likely purchased in Atlanta. So, imported sliderules were apparently fairly "widely available" in the 1908 time-frame. I make that surmise because Atlanta was certainly not a "big city", nor a "high-tech" hub, in those days, where one would find a great variety of "high-tech"goods for sale. Of course, the alternative explanation could simply be that Faber rules were available "everywhere slide rules were sold" because they were THE chief manufacturer world-wide. To hell with Georgia! (Any Tech grads out there will know what that means.)
David Hecht
Poster: The Art of Airways
ISRG 33643
I recently acquired a book of airline poster art, "The Art of the Airways" by Geza Szurovy. Toward the end, on page 175, there is a Delta Air Lines poster advertising travel to Detroit, showing an artist's conception of an advanced car design on a drawing pad, surrounded by drafting instruments: a pencil, a triangle, a French- curve protractor, and a slide rule, which is easily recognizable as an Acu-Math 400. No date is given for the poster, alas, but a variety of indicators (including, obviously, the slide rule itself) suggest it dates to the late 1970s.
Ronald McConnell
Magazine: Wired
ISRG 33725
Wired magazine "Test" issue "The World's Best Gadgets 2008" Winter 2008 1) "The Best Obsolete Technologies" Page 18 Slide Rule listed, Hemmi 153 photo 2) The Wired Ultimate Gadget Tourney" Page 24 4 groups of 16 gadgets Pickett N6-ES slide rule seeded #5 in group 1 vs. Texas Instrument TI-30 calculator seeded #12 - TI-30 wins round - tourney winner = RCA CT-100 color TV (1954) over John Bird sextant (1729) It is noted that sextants are still readily available while the slide rule has "sadly ... gone the way of the pocket protector." I still use pocket protectors and slide rules.
Marion Moon
ISRG 33982
In today's comic section of many newspapers, the fairly new strip called Lio, has Lio working on some graph paper with apparent equations. On his desk are both a calculator and a slide rule. He's working on forces needed to launch him into flight by his heavy friend on a see-saw as seen in the last frame.
Leo Ackley
Book: Against the Day
ISRG 34683
Thiis is Leo, back after a long winter of work and travel Much there is on my mind... But : The Sighting: a pargraph from the book "Against the Day", by Thomas Pynchon (Penguin, 2006), p.497. The scene is at Cambridge University, and about 1904. "In the briskness of autumn again, everybody reconnected,New colors of clothing had become fachionable, notably Coronation Red.The cricket talk was all of Ranji and C,B. Fry, and of course the Australian season lately under way. Engineering students met in New Court at high noon for mock duels to see who could draw and calculate fastest on the new Tavernier-Gravet slide rules it was a la mode to pack around in leather scabbards that fastened to one's belt. New Court in those days was still a resort of the unruly and interest in calculation soon deferred to drinking beer, as much of it and as quickly as possible." Thomas Pynchom usually does his homework and does it well. What is the slide rule referred to and does it relate to the on-going battle mentopned often in the book between the "quaternionists" and the "vectorists"? I might mention that David Hilbert appears in the novel in a short "walk on", as does Nikolai Tesla, Bela Lagosi and Groucho Marx. Geographically, the scenes stretch from mining camps in Colorado to the Balkin Wars, Central Asia and most European capitals. I highly recommend the book, all 1085 pages of it.
Rod Lovett
ISRG 34693
For anyone with 18 minutes to spare and is not of a nervous disposition,the video at is quite exhilarating. The slide rule ( a very nice one) appears after 14 mins 30 secs. (Rod: Not available on Wayback Machine.)
TV: The Silent Service
ISRG 34770
On the History Channel's "The Silent Service" about 1 hour and 7 minutes into the two hour program as discussion of Rickover's call for a new kind of submarine goes out, a group of ranked engineers is seen (there's an angled fluorescent lamp high on the screen). The officer on the left (a commander, I believe) is seen moving a sheaf of papers forward. On the top is his slide rule. Get prepped when you see a retired vice admiral with a table lamp that looks like a red buoy on his table.
Ronald van Riet
ISRG 35008
in an ad for a website to optimize IT staff CVs. The heading translates into: "How old is your CV?". Showing a slide rule, an abacus, a Commoodore 64 and the first mouse I ever used (many gray hairs ago). URL: and yes, this is a safe link... (Rod: Link not available on Wayback Machine. )
Mark Armbrust
Song: Starwheel
ISRG 35383
Bruce Coclburn's song "Starwheel" from his album "Joy Will Find a Way" just popped up on my random playlist. Second stanza, third line. > Starwheel > Music and Lyrics by Bruce Cockburn > Orion's high in the south-west sky -- > You're bound to move on and so am I > On this world we've had time to burn -- > how come nobody ever seems to learn? > See how the starwheel turns. > Crystal drift on the whistling wind -- > Constant change is the space we're in > You may use a slide rule or a golden crown > But nothing's worth it that you can pin down -- > See how the starwheel turns. > Don't go playing no shell game with God -- > Only Satan's going to give you odds > We're given love and love must be returned -- > That's all the bearings that you need to learn > See how the starwheel turns.
ISRG 35691
Gizmodo has decided that Nuclear Slide Rules are retro cool: In case this gets wrapped ... or (preview version) (Rod: May be viewed at: )
Ted Hume
Film: An Officer and a Gentleman
ISRG 36270
Last night I watched again the excellent movie An Officer and a Gentleman. In one scene of an aeronautics class, Richard Gere and other students were using slide rules. Craig, you might want to add this one to the "sightings" list.
Mike McBride
TV: The Unit episode 13, Sub-Conscious
ISRG 36778
I don't think that this has been reported yet, but I was watching Season 2 of the tv series, "The Unit", episode 13, "Sub-Conscious" where I noted a slide rule. Our heros of the Unit were on a mission on a South Korean submarine. At around the 2157 count on the disc, I saw a slide rule which I believe is Dietzgen 1738 slide rule on the basis of the slide rule case and the slide rule appearing to be metal.
Marion Moon
Magazine: Deutsche Optik
ISRG 37647
I don't know how many of you see the catalog "Deutsche Optik" but the recent issue has a balloon slide rule for sale. It is described as a Mod Pilot Balloon Slide Rule Mk4 made in 1970 in England. It looks like 20 cm in length. The asking price is $119.
Duane Croft
Film: Animal House
ISRG 38268
Saw a slide rule sighting that surprised me - there are two scenes with a slide rule in Animal House. At 42 minutes & 25 seconds into the movie, as the Dean is walking into Animal House to tell them how much trouble they're in, there's a 2 second shot of the one geeky member holding a slide rule. Then during the ending credits, the same character is holding the slide rule again, unfortunately this time in his mouth.... Like I say, surprised me....
Craig Kielhofer
TV: Dragnet
ISRG 38394
I just created a new album in the Photos section entitled SR Sightings. As you can see, I have uploaded 4 pics I got as screen images as I was watching an episode of Dragnet on . You can use this album for any screen shots, etc. you may get from streaming video, etc. Now here is the challenge for all the members, look at the pics and see if you can ID the slide rule. Rod: This photo archive is in existence but not currently available.
Marion Moon
Magazine: Bent
ISRG 38576
The current issue of the Tau Beta Pi magazine "Bent" shows Douglas A. Buol explaining how to use and 'ancient' slide rule. Hard to say what it is but it could be a K&E or Versalog. This was part of a high school engineering expo in Iowa in November.
Jeff Weiner
ISRG 38719
Lately, driving home from work along Elston Avenue here in Chicago, I've noticed a billboard that Toyota has up with the word PRECISION on it just southeast of North Avenue. I noticed the other day that the O is a stylized circular slide rule, like a dual cursor Norma Grafia, the other leters made up of either drafting instruments or gauging implements. Has anyone seen such a sign up in their neck of the world?
ISRG 38825
Refers to 38719 Well, it looks like it could be a slide rule. There is a cartoon with what looks like a slide rule sticking out of a pocket. The cartoon shows a man with a foot on a globe. It was at on 8 Feb 2010. It is still in the archives maintained at the site.
TV: Prophets of Science Fiction
ISRG 38878
The program, "Prophets of Science Fiction," airing on the Science Channel provides three treats. This program was produced in 2006. It airs twice more before 3 AM EST tomorrow. At barely 7 minutes into the program, Jules Verne's siting of Florida for his space gun is presented. A period wooden slide rule is manipulated just before the equation for escape velocity is worked out. It appeared to be a model 156 for an unknown maker. The second showing featured a Bygrave or an Otis King machine at about 53 minutes into the program when discussing H.G. Wells' prediction of an atomic bomb in about 1915. In fact, Wells coined the very phrase. There is a third slide rule at 57 minutes. Leo Szilard's idea of a chain reaction is discussed. In the bottom left hand corner (near his elbow) is a celluloid slide rule.
ISRG 39288
Refers to 39283 My thanks to the good people on the other side of the border! I was living on the St. Lawrence and in high school during the Apollo 13 mission. Can anyone hazard a guess as to the slide rule the Canadian engineers used? The one in the still had no cursor, but the one in the video clip look like it came out of a Post sheath. This second one also appeared to be thick wood.
les Burel
ISRG 39311
Refers to 39283 I thought I saw a ruler edge on the slide rule and maybe it was a Hughes Owen 1771. I would be amazed if the Canadian engineers needed just a basic slide rule. I don't know what other HO models could have been used on that stock. If you stay on that link several videos come up. One vid has one of the engineers being interviewed and he produces a SR with a cursor and it has a ruler edge.
Les Burel
ISRG 39312
"Einstein favors a Nestler slide rule in his work. The approaches to the Golden Gate Bridge and the thrust profile of the Redstone Rocket are designed with simple Rietz based slide rules ... E. H. Lowry's Dietzgen Phillips 1725 and Wernher Von Braun's Nestler 23 respectively." From the Oughtred website
Beorn Johnson
TV: Truly California: Our State, Our Stories
ISRG 39349
In a recent episode of "Truly California: Our State, Our Stories" on KQED (the local PBS station, and timed for Earth Day), there is a very brief scene about 14 minutes in of three engineers, purportedly working on a dam design, the one in the middle is holding/working with a slide rule. There is not enough detail to tell any more than it's a standard 10" design. I kind of wonder if this is actually stock footage. The details of the episode are below. - Beorn Johnson Truly CA: Our State, Our Stories [#402] Monumental From the moment David Brower first witnessed the extraordinary beauty of the Yosemite Valley, his life was tied to the fight to preserve the American wilds for future generations. His fiery dedication and skillful activism transformed the Sierra Club, bringing the environmental movement into the public consciousness. Monumental re-visits Brower's unrelenting campaigns to protect and establish some of our most treasured national parks and monuments. At the center of the film are the themes that absorbed Brower throughout his life and work with the Sierra Club: the spiritual connection between humans and the great outdoors, and the moral obligation to preserve what is left of the world's natural wonders from the encroachment of progress. Weaving Brower's vivid 16-mm archival wilderness footage and interviews with leading conservationists, historians, politicians, and Brower's family, Monumental is an inspiring portrait of a true American legend. By Kelly Duane. duration 58:04 CC STEREO TVG
Weapons Races: The Race for the Nuclear Submarine.
ISRG 39368
A slide rule appears at about 14 minutes into "Weapons Races: The Race for the Nuclear Submarine." This program was on the Military Channel. There is a discussion on ballistic missile development on submarines. Early Soviet surface test firings are being shown, but we are being set up for a look at the development of the Polaris system coupled with the George Washington class of missile boats. Look for a section where a model of a nose cone is being turned on a lathe. The next cut will reveal several nose cone models. The slide rule is in the hands of one designer on the right. It looks like a K&E.
Magazine: Freeman
ISRG 39382 An article using slide rules as an example of the intrinsic subjectivity of value. (Rod: Article available at:
Jodie Scott
TV: Good Eats
ISRG 39387
About 2/3 of the way through the Good Eats episode Tort(illa) Reform, Alton Brown uses a slide rule as a prop as he is determining the quantity of masa dough required for a tortilla. The rule appears to be an a late model Pickett.
TV: Patrick SmartPants
ISRG 39616
About 2/3 of the way through the Good Eats episode Tort(illa) Reform, Alton Brown uses a slide rule as a prop as he is determining the quantity of masa dough required for a tortilla. The rule appears to be an a late model Pickett.
John Alsobrook
TV: Outer Limits Controlled Experiment
ISRG 39630
This morning, THIS TV network ran a 1963 episode of Outer Limits, "Controlled Experiment". Two Martians, disguised as humans, were preparing to observe and analyze mankind's tendency to murder, to determine if the dominant species on this "10th rate planet" should be eliminated to protect the galaxy. While receiving radio instructions from their "Control Center", one grabbed a 10-inch simplex SR and the other plucked a 5-inch SR from his pocket and both began frantically manipulating their slide rules. The Martian with the pocket rule completed the calculation first and rattled off a very long number extending out to 4 decimal places. The other quickly agreed. Amazing eyesight those Martians must have! Both were standing, facing the camera, with only the back side of the SRs visible and I couldn't determine what brand slide rules they had. The 10-inch looked similar to a Pickett N901-T or N902-T, with conversions or instruction text on the back side.
Phil Stanley
Newspaper: Seattle Times
ISRG 39642
I view a bunch of comic strips when I sign on every morning, and I think the Bloom County from April 15, 1988 qualifies as a slide rule sighting (the Seattle Times is rerunning old Bloom County strips, and they're currently into the strips from that April) It shows Steve Dallas asking candidate Opus to speak at a fund-raiser for a troubled industry, "Slide Rule Aid" If this has already been noticed, I apologize.
Craig Kielhofer
Web: YouTube
ISRG 39822
I feel it is worth posting this Youtube video on classroom discipline as a teaching slide rule figures in this video. Maybe someone in the group can tell me if the kid was throwing spitballs at the kid in front, the teacher or the slide rule.
Web: YouTube
ISRG 39826
Refers to 39822 In the second part of the video the teacher works out a long division problem on the board, when he has that perfectly good slide rule right in front of him. And here I thought we'd get to see that big beast in action.
Hans hansen
TV: Food Channel Good Eats
ISRG 40268
Food Channel. Good Eats Alton Brown - aka "Food Nerd" He's talking about surface-to-mass ratios, as he often does. Pulls out a slide rule. 99% sure it's a Pickett, and judging by the back side, I'd guess a 515 - Cleveland Institute of Electronics. Hardly what a cook would use.
Marion Moon
Newspaper: LA Times
ISRG 40277
The LA Times ran an obituary this week on Samuel T. Cohen the developer/inventor of the neutron bomb. He is said to have used only a pencil, paper and his slide rule for that invention. The picture on the front page shows Cohen holding a peace medal and his slide rule. His father gave him a slide rule for his 15th birthday which would have been in 1936. The rule appears to be a K&E which would fit the date.
John Scudy
ISRG 40386
While exploring some sites (actually, I was just following my mouse and letting it click on things that seemed interesting) I saw a slide rule giving some scientific credibility to an entrepreneur's site: I'm not sure what rule it is, but I enjoy the site. If I wasn't in the midst of a personal economic recession, I would buy the Klein hat and Mobius scarf.
Mike Carson
ISRG 40391
Refers to 40387 He has a video at TED Talks called "18 Minutes with an Agile Mind". Good video, he's great, and he uses a slide rule during the video to do a calculation.
Steve Treadwell
Film: Voyage
ISRG 40591
Saw a slide rule in the movie "Voyager" (Sam Shepard, Julie Delpy, Barbara Sukowa - set in the 1950's) - about 10 minutes into the film as the plane, having lost 2 engines is going down in Mexico, Sam Shepard's character pulls out his slide rule and calculates where they will crash land. Just got a glimpse of it - maybe FC or Aristo? And a mention of a SR in the Dallas Morning News today (reprinted from the Seattle Times) regarding the construction of a nuclear waste processing plant in Washington state. <<"We figured out how to put a man on the moon in 10 years using slide rules," said Walt Tamosaitis, a high-level Hanford engineer who said he was removed from the project last year after raising safety concerns. "We still can't seem to get this right.">>
Jim Beaver
DVD: the Adventures of Brisco County Jr. No Mans Land
ISRG 40716
recently picked up a DVD copy of "the Adventures of Brisco County Jr." (Aired on Fox 1993-94)While watching the episode "No Mans Land" (episode 4) I noticed a scene where Prof. Wickwire is shown using a slide rule to calculate the optimum height to hoist a bale of hay in order to take out a bad guy. I couldn't tell the exact model, possibly a K&E. New subject. Yesterday, on a whim, I typed in "slide rule" on the Barnes & Noble site while browsing for books for my Nook. Much to my surprise, the search returned 51 matches. "Slide Rule" by Nevil Shute ($11.99), one was an instruction manual that sold for 99cents, and the rest were old manuals that were out of copyright, and therefore FREE.
Tom Savage
Video: Army Corps of Engineers
ISRG 41067
I just stumbled across this video from the Army Corps of Engineers. The slide rule looks to be a frameless K&E. It seems to be appropriate for the task for which it is being used. Check out the portion at about 3:14 in the video. (Rod: Can be seen at: )
Dave G KK7SS
Book: Reflections
ISRG 41068
The book "Reflections" by M. Walter Maxwell, has a picture of him (second page) holding a slide rule. (Rod: Can be seen at: )
Andre KP
TV: History Channel 60's Tech
ISRG 41189
History Channel's "60's Tech" (thought it might have been "70's Tech) had a guy racing his slide rule (looked like a K+E type Duplex) against a woman with a calculator. The problem was the simple "what is the square root of 23?" It should have been a fair fight, as this is easy-peasy on either instrument. Calculator lady got it right away, as expected. He fumbled around for a good 15 seconds, saying things like "wait a sec..." and apparently starting over once or twice, before unconfidently saying "about 4.8...?" Proving of course how difficult and inaccurate slide rule use is. It was quite laughable. It was like watching the people in the infomercials fumble around with simple tools to show in comparison how easy it is to use whatever they are selling. I could have gotten off the couch, walked accross the room, pulled out a slide rule, turned on a light, and STILL found the answer faster than the yahoo on TV!
William Drylie
TV: Mercury Men
ISRG 41466
On the site scroll down to the online series Mercury Men, episode two entitled Skyscraper Saboteurs at 6:20 minutes into the video, the engineer unleashes a Moleskine notebook with a rather large Pickett slide rule and does some gravity equations to discover aliens are pulling the moon into the earth with a gravity well. Actually, this Science Fiction is kind of fun, takes you back into the slide rule era. Ten episodes online which I enjoyed, kind of reminds you of Heinlein or Asimov work. To anyone who likes this stuff, enjoy! (Rod: Can be seen at: )
TV: Mercury Men
ISRG 41532
Browsing through Hulu, I came across a little serial series, "The Mercury Men" ( ). It's a throwback to 40s-style science fiction serials. Episode 2 (at 06:22) contains a curious scene in which a protagonist uses what looks to be a DeciLon to compute the impact of a villainous scheme. The slide rule usage is juxtaposed with his use of a pocket holographic orrery (imagine the implicit computing power there). "You're an engineer?" asks one of the actors, "with a gun?" (Rod: Can be seen at: https://web. )
Mike Markowski
DVD: National Georgraphic
ISRG 41971
For Christmas my wife bought me the complete set of National Geographic magazines on dvd (for an amazingly cheap US $25). The ads are as much fun to read as the articles, and there is a small slide rule drawing in an IBM ad from Jan 1950. Not as impressive as an ad for and about slide rules, but interesting nevertheless. It's at:
Dave N
ISRG 41974
Refers to 41971 here is another IBM advertisement which appeared in 1951 (I think) depicting that the 'latest' IBM electronic calculators were so fast it was like having an extra 150 Engineers with slide rules ! I've placed an image in the photo section in a folder I've labelled 'Slide Rules (in) advertisements' Perhaps others may like to add their findings. Nostalgia isn't dead yet. Happy New Year to you all.
Marion Moon
ISRG 42020
Nova's recent test of Wallace's skip bombing of Hitler's dams showed Wallace at his desk with an open slide rule at the side of his workspace. Appears to be duplex rule but little else can be seen.
Magazine: QST
ISRG 42580
The May issue of the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) publication QST has an article on amateur radio pioneer Bill Orr on page 73 featuring a picture of a vacuum tube volt meter, one of Orr's publications and a nice Pickett slide rule.
Ronald McConnell
Web: Comic
ISRG 42608
Slide Rule sighting Grand Avenue comic Steve Breen & Mike Thompson 2012 April 17 Attached for those on direct email. 66KB gif image file. (Rod: Use )
Film: No Highway in the Sky
ISRG 42932
Just watched on YouTube a little movie, "No Highway in the Sky," starring Jimmy Stewart, Marlene Deitrich, Glynnis Johns. The movie is focused on the possibility of a fatal flaw in a new commercial aircraft design. A couple of minutes in, a character jovially disparages scientists as "those chaps who eat their porridge with slide rules, you know ...". There may be actual sightings in several other spots (such as Stewart carrying one tucked in his briefcase), but I can't quite raise the video resolution enough for a clear look. The movie is an uneven mix which eventually supports science and mathematics while wrapping them up in balderdash. For instance, Stewart is an archtypical, absent-minded, somewhat asocial "boffin," raising his daughter as a nerd/geek ("swat" in the movie's terms) and who has no empathy for the potential human impact of his work at the start of the movie (his evolution in this regard is a key plot point of the film). As another example, "nuclear fission" as a cause of vibrational metal fatigue is of course silly. Inside the movie there are several very human and poignant themes and moments. Not a horrible way to spend a little spare time, if you can set aside the scientific follies.
Craig Kielhofer
Film: No Highway in the Sky
ISRG 42934
Refers to 42932 As a pilot I can tell you that the title of the movie is a misnomer, between the Victor and Jet airways they ARE the highways in the sky. There are 3 main forms of flying VFR, IFR and IFH/IFI (I follow highways / interstates). And what does this have to do with slide rules you are asking yourselves, why we use our E6B's and CR's to calculate our airspeed amongst other things. Just put this up not only because I can, but maybe we can talk about other things we use the E6B's and CR's for, I keep a CR-2 in the car so I can calculate road trips. Any other pilots out there that would like to chime in?
Hans Hansen
TV: Good Eats episode Tort(illa) Reform
ISRG 43046
In the Good Eats episode "Tort(illa) Reform", Alton Brown is shown holding a slide rule while calculating the amount of masa dough to use to make a single tortilla. Not sure of make/model, but it didn't appear to have bunches of scales.
Film: I Dream of Jenny
ISRG 43128
Another instance of Astronaut Tony handling a slide rule (happens at various times during the series run). of "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Available on YouTube. Physicist is using SR for some desk work.
Film: Moonrise Kingdom
ISRG 43167
SR sighting in the movie "Moonrise Kingdom". It takes place in 1965. About halfway through the movie there is a scene on a boat and there is a very short shot of some nautical charts with a slide rule sitting on top of them. It was way too quick for me to even guess at the type.
Steve Treadwell
TV: Moon Machines
ISRG 43248
Watching "Moon Machines" on SCI channel just now, about the development of the Saturn V rocket. About 18 minutes in there is an engineer using a slide rule. There was a close-up, but so blurry that I couldn't read the scales. Definitely a Pickett, white, 4 screw cursor, metal end bars with the narrow cursor window, rounded stator braces, I think. I froze the picture, and best I could guess from the general scale configuration it looked like an 800T, Log Log Synchro Scale.
Steve Treadwell
TV: Moon Machines
ISRG 43249
Refers to 43248 PS - another slide rule shot in the same show, about 30 minutes in - this one was a PIC. I don't know the model number, but it was a pretty good close up, so someone familiar with PIC's would probably know the model. This same PIC SR was also in the second Moon Machines show, about the building of the lunar module - about 13 minutes into the show.
TV: So You Want to Play the Horses
ISRG 43427
My wife and I just viewed a short (after "The Story of Seabiscuit," with Shirley Temple--on Turner Classic Movies). Its title was "So You Want to Play the Horses," part of 'Behind the Eight Ball' series. Five minutes into the film the luckless hero finally hits on a "mathematical" system for picking winning horses. He pulls his tools from the overhead lamp: a sextant, dividers, and a slide rule! He then fortifies his logic with a dubious celestial reasoning. He places his bet and ... Perhaps someone here has the DVD series (aka "Joe McDoakes") and can identify the SR. It's hard making it out on 525/60 television. It was a rather thickish closed-body 10 inch SR with a linear scale squarely on the bottom edge of the stator. Perhaps a Post 1446?
Dave KK7SS
Film: The First of the Few
ISRG 43562
17:02 into "The First of the Few" -- a very large cylindrical slide rule. Movie available from the 'wayback machine' aka the Internet Archive, Romanticized story about the development of the Spitfire
Mike Markowski
TV: Scooby Do 2
ISRG 44551
As the gang is coming up with a plan to save the day toward the finale of the live action "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed," Velma is seen making some sort of (pretend) calculation on an e6b flight computer / slide rule. Since I was a kid and fan of the cartoon when Scooby Doo was first on tv, I really enjoyed this movie! :-)
Fred Astren
Magazine: Forbes Magazine
ISRG 44845
An article in Forbes Magazine (9/23/2013) on the pollster George Gallup, entitled "From Slide Rules to Big Data." It begins: "He was the man with a 'political slide rule,' as Time put it in a 1948 cover story."
Fred Astren
Magazine: New York Times
ISRG 44845
A feature article in last Wednesday's (12/3/2013) New York Times in the Business Section, "Hands-On Bavarian Count Presides Over a Pencil-Making Empire." Slide rules are only parenthetically mentioned: "Still, Faber-Castell, founded in 1761 when graphite pencils were a novelty, has overcome technological shifts before. When Count Anton took over the business in 1978, after the death of his father, Count Roland von Faber-Castell, the company was a leading maker of slide rules. That was soon laid to waste by the electronic calculator. Then, in the 1980s, the advent of computer-assisted design soon gutted the market for its mechanical drawing products."
Film: Race to Space
ISRG 45047
For the last week or so, HBO Family, (at least in the United States) has been playing in significant rotation, a 2001 movie entitled, "Race to Space". It has numerous shots of several slide rules in everyday use. The movie is very loosely modeled on the pre Mercury program of launching a chimpanzee into a sub orbital space flight. It also has a fictional character of a former German space scientist, called, "Dr. Wilhelm von Huber" who leads a team of Volkswagen driving former engineers from Germany as well. Gee...I wonder who that might have been in real life. Whoever did the set design for this movie should have won an award. To look at the late 50's technology, and the noticeable lack of the electronics we take for granted in everyday use is a stunning reminder of my youth...and the number of pencils worn out in trying to keep track of the decimal place!
TV: Cosmos
ISRG 45120
This week's episode covers the life of Clair Patterson, investigating lead contamination in the environment as a byproduct of his research into determining the age of the earth by measuring lead to uranium ratios. In an animated segment, he is showng briefly manipulating a slide rule.
Ron McConnell
Location: John Hopkins University
ISRG 45968
I was looking for a link at the Johns Hopkins Univ. - Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU-APL) web site to the 1960s mobile automata (a.k.a. robot) project that I worked on and spotted this. The slide rule is edge on in the background, so there is no way to identify it. (Rod: Look at: )
Film: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie
ISRG 46685
My daughter and I recently watched Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. It was a way for her to unwind from the fall semester. It wove itself around This Island Earth (1955). The cable series MST3K repackaged many schlocky SF films and punctuated them with delightfully snarky comments. But these are showing their age and there was no way I could begin to explain things to her. How can one explain Ed Sullivan? I decided to view the entire original. At roughly 40 minutes into the movie (where the male protagonist gets to working in a new underground lab) out pops a slide rule front and center for about 20 seconds! It looked like a Post or K&E. Elsewhere in the film a case can be seen on a drafting table.
Film: Department S
ISRG 46690
A few years ago, I got a bug to watch as many of the halfway-decent 1940s-60s science fiction films as I could get streamed onto my PC (I was low for a couple of weeks for a recuperation). Besides enjoying the films themselves, I was also specifically on the lookout for sliderules. I am amazed at how few instances of slide rule sightings I could find. Lots of dramatic peering at boiling beakers and squinting at microscopes, etc., but few actual calculations (perhaps that why the experiments always went awry LOL). Flash forward to now. I've been binge-watching old TV series on YouTube. Just found a British 1960s series, "Department S" - and the first episode has a sighting. Navigator aboard a jetliner, using a conventional 10-inch model, not the E6 type. FYI. Pilot episode, in the first few minutes. Onscreen only a few moments.
Mike Markowski
Book: Many Tom Swift Books Referenced
ISRG 46873
Tom Swift books were published from 1910 till about WWII targeting boys with an interest in science. The fictional character's son, Tom Swift Jr., later had a series devoted to him which was published from the mid-50s to early 70s. For fun I ran a search on 'slide rule' in the Tom Swift Jr series and found many, listed below. Because these are kids' adventure books, don't expect scientific realism. However, I find that when traveling for work and there isn't enough quiet or time for focused reading they make for light, fun diversions and don't take up much room in my Kindle. Mike Markowski
===== TOM SWIFT and His Atomic Earth Blaster, 1954
Mr. Swift pulled a small slide rule out of his pocket and did some hasty figuring. "Suppose you dug a pit three feet in diameter," he said. "For every hundred miles you went down, you'd haul up enough dirt to cover six square city blocks and piled three times as high as the Empire State Building!" -------------------- Two hours later, while Tom was busy with his slide rule working out structural details of the new blaster, he became aware of voices outside the laboratory window. -------------------- Using a slide rule, Tom quickly worked out a number of equations. His mental calculations had been right. By changing gear ratios in the power-conversion equipment, he should be able to make the blaster operate at anywhere from twenty-five to fifty percent higher speeds than he had first planned. -------------------- Using pocket slide rules and a handbook of tables borrowed from one of the company engineers, Tom and Voorhees proceeded to work out the formulas.
===== TOM SWIFT and His Outpost in Space, 1955
Inside, Tom was hard at work with a slide rule. His desk was littered with papers, each one covered with figures and equations. From time to time the young scientist paused to feed a new problem into a small electronic computer.
===== TOM SWIFT on the Phantom Satellite, 1956
"Higher reflectivity," Tom replied. "As a matter of fact, it's twenty times as bright as the moon. Which reminds me---we still haven't found out why this satellite glows so brightly when seen from earth." Bud patted Tom on the shoulder. "Let's not go into that now, genius boy," he said, "or you'll be slaving over a hot slide rule all night. I vote we hit the sack."
===== TOM SWIFT in the Race to the Moon, 1958
"You mean a lot of it's going to waste?" "Sure is, pal." Tom whipped out his slide rule. "If we could harness all the sun's energy, down here on this earth, we'd get more than three horsepower from every square foot of surface exposed to the sunshine." There was a long silence, during which Tom jotted down a number of mathematical formulas. At one point, he whipped out his slide rule to work out a series of equations.
===== TOM SWIFT and His Space Solartron, 1958
"But the spectroscope shows that it's pure oxygen," Bud spoke up. "Yes, which weighs up to exactly one one-thousandth of a gram!" Chow pushed back his ten-gallon hat and scratched his balding head. "Reckon that ain't very much, eh?" "About enough to keep a flea alive for half a second." Tom whipped out his slide rule and did some rapid figuring. "Chow, with the power I used to make this much oxygen, you could run your toaster an hour a day for eighty-one years!"
===== TOM SWIFT and His Electronic Retroscope, 1959
The door had hardly closed behind the three when Tom plunged into his problem. He whipped out a slide rule and began making rapid calculations.
===== TOM SWIFT and the Cosmic Astronauts, 1960
"Five minutes to, boss. Brand my pemmican pie, you ought to stop workin' your brain so hard! All them squiggles an' numbers you been figgerin' out is enough to drive a cow hand loco!" Tom grinned and laid down his slide rule as the Texan uncovered the lunch dishes. "Mm! Hot roast beef sandwiches and lemon meringue pie! This is more than I bargained for, Chow." -------------------- THE next morning found Tom eagerly at work in his outpost laboratory on the development of a cosmic reactor. Most of his slide-rule calculations and working sketches were already done.
===== TOM SWIFT and the Visitor from Planet X, 1961
Nevertheless, Tom decided, the basic idea was sound. Grabbing pencil and slide rule, he began to dash off page after page of diagrams and equations.
===== TOM SWIFT and the Electronic Hydrolung, 1961
The next morning found the young inventor hard at work in his private laboratory. He was tapping his head with his slide rule and frowning at a blackboard scrawled with equations when Bud dropped in for a visit.
===== TOM SWIFT and the Asteroid Pirates, 1963
"Are we disturbing the march of science?" "Sandy! Phyl!" Tom exclaimed. He tossed aside his slide rule and jumped up to greet them. "What brings you girls to Fearing?"
===== TOM SWIFT and His 3-D Telejector, 1964
After the three had left, Tom seated himself at his work desk. Slide rule in hand, he tackled the job of designing circuits that would enable him to intensify the picture-signal impulses into bursts of visible light.
===== TOM SWIFT and the Mystery Comet, 1966
The rest of the day Tom spent hunched over his workbench with a slide rule and pencil. Shortly after five-thirty, with his head still full of circuit diagrams and calculations, Tom left the plant in his low-slung silver sports car and drove to Shopton Airport.
Barney Sperlin
TV: The Wild Wild West
ISRG 46897
'm relatively new to the list so I don't know if there is an archive I should check before listing a slide rule sighting, but: Watching the old U.S. TV show "The Wild Wild West" from 1965, in the episode "Night of the Human Trigger" I saw the deranged villain, a geologist who plotted to take over Wyoming by triggering earthquakes (in about the year 1870), using a small slide rule for his evil machinations. Once in jail he was prescient enough to write e=mc^2 on the walls of his cell. Amazing what a slide rule enables!
Philip Stanley
ISRG 46965
While going through som old paperwork I came across a newspaper comic strip that I'd printed out last year. It's the strip DUSTIN, centered on an unemployed live-at-home young man and his contretemps. It is the strip for July 10, 2015, and shows dustin and a friend going through a box full of old stuff. Dustin says he can't believe that the 35 mm SLR he's holding was once used to take pictures, and his friend says that it's got to be the ugliest cell phone he's ever seen. For all three of the frames of the strip the friend has a slide rule in his hands (presumably as another example of obsolete technology. Since it would probably be difficult to accass a comic strip from 8 months previous, I have attached a copy of the strip so the members can view it.
Antz Nevett
TV: The Mystery of Dark Energy
ISRG 47049
ust watched the BBC Horizon "The Mystery of Dark Energy" there are various shots of an actor portraying Einstein with a number of shot of a unidentified slide rule. For those in the UK it's on BBC iPlayer and for those who have a VPN have a look.
TV: The Mystery of Dark Energy
ISRG 47051
Refers to 47049 The slide rule shown intrigued me as well. I've added two stills to my pennine56 folder in case of use to folk without access to the programme. The reverse seems to be shown, possibly duplex slider but not stock. It has what looks like metal straps across the stocks either end to presumably strengthen. Cursor not obvious It doesn't seem to be the Nestler 23 associated with Einstein.The setting seems to be the Bern Patent Office
TV: Good Eats
ISRG 47078
Last evening on the Food Network show, "Good Eats." Really. Alton Brown, science-y nerd chef waved a slide rule frenetically as he commented on figuring the math of declining ratio of water required to boil larger amounts of rice, in "Power to the Pilaf." As a combination of late-night (11pm+) viewing surprise and quickness of the joke, couldn't see the rule type. He's done this in at least one other episode, but I don't remember which.
TV: Outer Limits Cold Hands, Warm Heart
ISRG 47161
I was trying out local TV via antenna and came across an episode of the Outer Limits where William Shatner stars as an astronaut who comes away from Venus craving heat. Coincidentally, the Venus mission was called Project Vulcan. At about 15 minutes into the broadcast (commercials included) Shatner, now promoted to general, was at home making calculations with a slide rule. His wife then picked up a large circular slide rule and did some additional calculations. It looked like a large Gilson on the front but had a grid on the back. I don't know if this was a real slide rule or TV Hollywood's attempt to make something look futuristic. The episode is called Cold Hands, Warm Heart. It's nice to have a two-fer where slide rules are concerned. Also very nice to see a husband and wife collaborating in science.
Charles Quinlan
TV: Outer Limits Cold Hands, Warm Heart
ISRG 47164
Refers to 47161 Though I cannot say what type, the circular slide rule was most likely a "flight computer" which pilots use to plot course on the back, on a grid, to account for wind effects.
Maynard Wright
Magazine: Popular Mechanics
ISRG 47299
On pages 86 and 87 of the June, 2016 Popular Mechanics magazine is described a little episode in which a man was taking a college exam with a cheap (implied) wooden slide rule and the slide froze up. He finished the exam using longhand calculations and immediately thereafter purchased a better slide rule.
Bob Tull
ISRG 48434
If your politics lie to the RIGHT you may not like to spend time on this site, but the gorgeous image of an N 3P should delight the slide rule enthusiast of any leaning... I will say that the image seems a little off as the rule is noted as an -ES but it doesn't have the "Eye Saver" Yellow we have come to know and maybe love. Looks like a -T to me!!
Stefan Vorkoetter
ISRG 48435
Refers to 48434 Thanks for the link! The slide rule looks quite eye-saver-yellow on my (somewhat calibrated) screen.
Buce Arnold
ISRG 48438
Refers to 48434 Comes up yellow for me. Nice to see a slide rule as an icon of rational thought, regardless of whether or not the accompanying article succeeded in that endeavor.
Maynard Wright
Magazine: RRL Radio Amateur's Handbook
ISRG 48456
In 1952, when I was 9 or 10 (depending on when I was given the book) I received a 1952 ARRL Radio Amateur's Handbook from a friend of Dad's. That led to an amateur radio license a few years later and, much later, to a career in engineering. I still have the old book and, over the years, I've used it a lot, even though I now have multiple editions scattered from 1926 to 2018, but I've mostly ignored the catalog section in the back. Looking it over recently, I found that the various pages in the Hallicrafters section carry the image of a slide rule, probably a K&E with the scale set (duplex but with one side shown only):
K A / B T ST S / D DI
The image (drawn, not a photo) is vertically oriented, about 9 inches in length on the 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 inch page on the right hand edge of each page that includes pictures of Hallicrafters receivers or transmitters.
TV: The Secret of Tuxedo Park
ISRG 48484
A 2018 documentary on 'The Secret of Tuxedo Park' just aired in the UK on the fairly new Freeview PBS channel. It covers the life and work of Alfred Loomis. As well as a multi-function SR shown in use later in the section on radar it was remarked that Alfred Loomis designed his own slide rule for calculating securities. A Google Snippet of a book by Jennet Conant suggests this design was rejected by the US Patent Office but also couldn't find an image of the design online.
Jerome May
Web: Wikepedia on Apollo 13
ISRG 48489
Maybe not a "sighting", but a significant reference. Wikipedia article on Apollo 13. Mentioned the University of Toronto calculations for the improvised "air pressure" separation of the Lunar Module from the Command Module. Section 3.3, "Crew Survival"; final paragraph. "The last problem to be solved was how to separate the Lunar Module asafe distance away from the Command Module just before re-entry. Thenormal procedure was to use the Service Module's reaction control system (RCS) to pull the CSM away after releasing the LM along with theCommand Module's docking ring, but this RCS was inoperative because ofthe power failure, and the useless SM would be released before the LM.To solve the problem, Grumman called on the engineering expertise of the University of Toronto. A team of six UT engineers, led by seniorscientist Bernard Etkin, was formed to solve the problem within a day. The team concluded thatpressurizing the tunnel connecting the Lunar Module to the CommandModule just before separation would provide the force necessary to pushthe two modules a safe distance away from each other just prior tore-entry. The team had 6 hours to compute the pressure required, using slide rules.. They needed an accurate calculation, as too high a pressure mightdamage the hatch and its seal, causing the astronauts to burn up; toolow a pressure would not provide enough separation distance of the LM.Grumman relayed their calculation to NASA, and from there in turn to the astronauts, who used it successfully.[26]"
TV: Cat People
ISRG 49328
I was watching Cat People on the Criterion Channel. The story is about a naval architect who marries a Serbian fashion illustrator, whose ancestral village is shrouded in legend and mystery. At the 33 minute-mark he's at work with his girl Friday and he calls out some numbers from his slide rule to her to adjust the frames on whatever the project is. Very basic slide rule. My hope is we could slowly exit with other sightings from past years. I hope there will be more sightings shared in our new home. I guess someone will have to turn off the lights.
Dave Nichols
Film: Last Holiday
Not From ISRG

I watched a film the other night called 'Last Holiday' (1950) with Alec Guinness et al. Towards the end of the film, an architect is in a hotel lobby, with others, and he is holding, with his papers, a 20" slide rule without its box. Not long enough visibility to determine what it was but would certainly have been English. Incidentally, many old classic black and white films are available on Talking Pictures UK (channel 81 Freeview, in my case).
Fred Kiesche
Book: A Beautiful Mind
ISRG 13544
Greetings: I'm about a third through Sylvia Nasar's biography of mathematician John Nash, Jr. Found one reference to a slide rule so far (which kind of makes me think that she does not totally understand who used SR's during that period...): "Nash went to Pittsburgh to become a chemical engineer, but his growing intere< >st was in mathematics. It was not long before he abandoned the laboratory and slide rule for Mobius knots and Diophantine equations." (Chapter 2, "Carnegie Inst< >itute of Technology: June 1945-June 1948, page 40). I'll post any other references that I find. There seems to be a general disdain that Nasar relates of "pure" math nuts vs. "applied" math nuts. I assume that the "applied" folks are the only ones that actually use SR's for anything other than stirring coffee.
Riley Land
TV:National Geographic
Not From ISRG
Another slide rule sighting! This screenshot is from the National Geographic program America.s Secret Space Hero.s S1E2 .Lunar Module.. I will be watching the rest of the episodes with a keen eye. Any guesses as to the make and model of the two in the picture?
Can be seen at:
Andries de Man
TV comedy: The Good Life S4E2
Not From ISRG
The 1970's BBC comedy "The Good Life", series 4 episode 2 featured a slide rule.
It is mentioned at and shown at , just before it disappears in an inner jacket pocket (did people carry slide rules that way?)
The low video quality does not help identifying the brand or model.
Detlef Zerfowski
Film: Werden wir wirklich zum Mars reisen?
Not From ISRG
I have found some traces which might not be known for a long time. I was just watching a documentary in the media archive of the German broadcast station ARD. The movie has the title "Werden wir wirklich zum Mars reisen?" (Engl. "Will we really travel to Mars?") The link to the movie:
In case the link is not working you'll find attached a corresponding screenshot showing the rocket engineer Wernher von Braun () in 1957 (file: Werner_von_Braun_with_slide_rule.png). Based on the given source I could find the original American movie "Mars and Beyond", Part 6. This movie is available at youtube
At 0:36 min you'll see the German-American Scientist Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger
carrying a slide rule like today people might carry their smart phones. He is in discussion with Wernher von Braun (1:15 min) having a larger slide rule in his hands. Stuhlinger's slide rule is visible for good period of time. (See additional screen shots.) And if you watch the entire about 9 minutes movie, you will notice where Elon Musks dreams are coming from.