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  • Picked up an olde slide rule...

    • An unusual skill set today..


      I stopped in an olde used goods store today and looked around. In there I found an olde slide rule. No batteries required.

      It had bee years and years since I had taken a course in them...and I thought I would buy it and put it away..I have another one put away here somewhere.

      So I took it to work with me to sort of fiddle around with it....but could not remember how to do multiplication.

      Hence I thought to myself to go up to the fourth floor wherein hang out the engineers offices.


      Boy oh...Boy did I ever get a shocker....for which I was not prepared...

      None of them were familiar with this tool....!!!

      Wow!!

      I am sure I can still get a book or u tube on how to work it ...but I reckon I was not prepared for none of the engineers to know how to work it...even in simple multiplication.

      We in a heap of trouble if the electricity goes out for months or even years ....in this country
    • I never buy a calculator unless it has on it solar power...but that is good only as long as you have a light source.
    • Orangetom
      Not an Ishmaelite
    Last edited by orangetom1999; 07-17-2021, 12:03 AM.

  • #2
    sliderule classes in college mostly ended mid-70s - took one of the last >>> had to get a basic calculator myself for math classes to complete the adjusted tests - had an early version IBM by college end ...
    Illini Warrior

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    • #3
      My first job out of high school was at Western Transformer Company, a little hole on the wall shop in East Oakland. The owner was A. Stanley Dudney, from New Zealand. He bid on jobs that were one-offs or small, weird boxes that GE and the other big guys weren't interested in makin'. He'd get the specs and work out what we had to make, all with a slip stick. They always ended up bein' within spec.
      We did it all, from bendin' the sheet metal on a brake for the cases and windin' the copper wire on modified lathes, cuttin' and stackin' the sheet steel, pourin' the melted tar for insulation, runnin' the leads through a Square D box on top and shipped 'em out by truck.
      Started at a buck thirty-five an hour and within a year got a whole dime raise. Take home was fifty-four dollars and fifty-six cents a week.Actually learned some good skills on that job.

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      • #4
        I had one in HS but my fascination for it faded when I discovered programmable calculators and computers. My first was a TX Instruments TI-57 ... the original with red LED readout.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/TI-57

        It allowed 50 operational steps including being able to execute conditional logic and loop for iterative processes. Had a lot of fun programming that thing, and learned a lot about process by devising a program to find Prime numbers and then find ways to make it run more efficiently.

        From there I moved on to the school computer in the library. That's right, ONE computer. Actually it was just a terminal linked to a computer at the university 20 miles away. It consisted of a keyboard and dot matrix printer. No mouse... no monitor. Translated my Prime number generator into whatever lingo that computer spoke... I think it was a very early version of basic. That "Rosetta stone" moment caught some attention and a bit later a used Apple II showed up at home with an actual old TV for video output and a cassette player for data storage. I can't thank my folks enough for that wonderful gift that was already obsolete when I got it, it provided a gateway to skills that have served me well for a lifetime.

        I've had the itch from time to time to acquire a slide rule and re-master that lost art... most of the ones I see on Ebay are outrageously priced. Nice score OT... enjoy!
        "The thing about smart people is they seem like crazy people to dumb people" - Stephen Hawking

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        • #5
          Bruss01,

          I have been thinking that in a TEOTWAWKI situation a slide rule might be a useful tool...no batteries required. Though they are not as accurate as many of today's calculators....out to the far decimal places.....when you have few choices you take what you can get.. The big thing to me is no batteries required...

          I have learned to be aware of a manual override in many things....in my olde age.. Don't get me wrong...automatic systems are nice....but at the same time I do not always want to be so herded automatically.... Same reason I try to keep up my Morse Code Skills....not as many people using it as in the olde days...but it is a type of manual override....doing it the olde way.

          A Slide rule is to me a type of manual override. In SHTF or TEOTWAWKI ...I believe all many of us will have is the olde manual overide...not these high tech automatic systems.

          That is one of the problems in the back of my mind with this computer...it is wonderful when it is working but useless when any of the links in the system go down....you have nothing ....not even a manual override.

          Nonetheless....


          A Manual of the Slide Rule: Its History, Principle, and Operation: Thompson, J.E.: 9781479444151: Amazon.com: Books


          The Slide-Rule, and How to Use It: Hoare, Charles: 9780342201662: Amazon.com: Books



          Have ordered the above two books to study....on the slip stick..

          Oh...and I have put back several calculators with solar power.....


          Orangetom
          Not an Ishmaelite.






          Last edited by orangetom1999; 07-17-2021, 12:38 PM.

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          • #6
            I have a couple of them. One was my step dads from back in the day. He gave it to me when I was in school and had a math teacher show me some work with it. But been so long ago I recall none of it. A freind of mine gave me a nice larger model a few years ago, leather case included. I need to pull those things out and relearn them.
            Greater love hath no man than this, That a man lay down his life for a friend.
            John 15:13

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            • #7
              Originally posted by orangetom1999 View Post
              Bruss01,

              I have been thinking that in a TEOTWAWKI situation a slide rule might be a useful tool...no batteries required. Though they are not as accurate as many of today's calculators....out to the far decimal places.....when you have few choices you take what you can get.. The big thing to me is no batteries required...

              Oh I'm with you 100% on that line of reasoning OT. For simple math a pen & paper does pretty well, but get into more complex stuff and a tool like this comes in handy, if one is proficient in its use. Very seldom does one need umpteen decimal places of accuracy... a very close, reasonable precision answer that is ontained quickly is suitable for much work. And a reasonable degree of accuracy quickly is what a slide rule excels at.

              I hear that some people are very quick with an abacus as well, those who have the training and experience can do things we'd never guess. I wonder if there's a book on that? It is said that an expert with an abacus can be as fast as an expert with a calculator. The difference is how much time and effort is required to obtain that degree of mastery with tool.

              Have you ever tried to do pen & paper math with Roman numerals? It's a serious headache. It's a miracle the Roman's managed any engineering at all and it is to their credit they did despite their cruddy numerical system. It occurs to me that a Roman engineer could have used a slide rule marked with Roman numerals quite handily though. The markings would be different than ours, but the motions and processes would work the same. Neat thought for the day!

              I shouldn't poke too much fun at the Roman's though... as much of an improvement as our Arabic numeral system is, it would have been far better if a base 12 system had been adopted than the base 10 system we went with... fractions like 1/3, 1/6 would come out even decimals instead if infinite repeats and in a lot of cases divisions by 2,3, 4, 6 and 12 would come out to whole numbers. Ah well, we're stuck with it now, it would take a global apocalypse to change something like that at this late date.
              Last edited by bruss01; 07-17-2021, 01:37 PM.
              "The thing about smart people is they seem like crazy people to dumb people" - Stephen Hawking

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              • #8
                Never even heard of it, LOL. I have to figure volume, area, elevation, grade, length, diagonal quite often.
                Don't bring skittles to a gun fight.

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                • #9
                  Never even considered doing math with Roman numerals. I bet that would be tough
                  Greater love hath no man than this, That a man lay down his life for a friend.
                  John 15:13

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                  • #10
                    by bruss01,

                    Have you ever tried to do pen & paper math with Roman numerals? It's a serious headache. It's a miracle the Roman's managed any engineering at all and it is to their credit they did despite their cruddy numerical system. It occurs to me that a Roman engineer could have used a slide rule marked with Roman numerals quite handily though. The markings would be different than ours, but the motions and processes would work the same. Neat thought for the day!
                    The Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians did not use math as we know it....and most of that was impossible in their math systems.

                    They used Geometry and clearly were very very good with it.



                    Our number system was very limited until the zero was recognized or invented. Once the Zero came about our current math system took off.

                    But don't kid yourself...we would today be hard pressed to build some things the Egyptians built and with the same accuracy....precision.


                    Orangetom
                    Not an Ishmaelite.
                    Last edited by orangetom1999; 07-18-2021, 02:44 PM.

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                    • #11
                      We were required in HS Chem class to use slide rule. Never liked it.
                      Once on safari in deepest darkest Afganistan we ran out of Gin, and were compelled to survive on food and water for several days.


                      I typically carry a flask of vodka for snakebites. I also carry a small snake.- W. C. Fields

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                      • #12
                        Working my way through this book on the slide rule..but I am finding it difficult and frustrating. Hence I am not letting it work and frustrate me too much. I put it aside and come back to it. Just like I did in learning Morse Code...you cannot let it work and frustrate you .....put it aside and come back again later....small steps...until you get better and better on it....or it will break you.

                        Orangetom
                        Not an Ishmaelite.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          With all this talk about slide rules, I dug out my dad's old slide rule. He was a Civil Engineer, and always had the thing out. The ivory is yellowed, but the thing is just as smooth as it always was. I can still do square and cube roots on it. I even remembered how to do SIN, COS, TAN, SIN-1, COS-1, TAN-1 so I can derive all the rest of the trig functions.

                          The whole thing brought me back to my childhood. I would wake up early, and wait till dad got up and head down to the kitchen, where he had his blue prints spread out on the kitchen table. He taught me math, using the slide rule and how to read using the blue prints. We would sit over a cup of coffee (mine was a few drops of coffee and the rest milk) and working out the math for the structural members and foundation footings, before he put his signature and stamp on them.

                          I would give anything to see coffee being perked in the glass sided coffee pot and sharing a cup of joe with dad again!
                          "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Crazy Uncle View Post
                            With all this talk about slide rules, I dug out my dad's old slide rule. He was a Civil Engineer, and always had the thing out. The ivory is yellowed, but the thing is just as smooth as it always was. I can still do square and cube roots on it. I even remembered how to do SIN, COS, TAN, SIN-1, COS-1, TAN-1 so I can derive all the rest of the trig functions.

                            The whole thing brought me back to my childhood. I would wake up early, and wait till dad got up and head down to the kitchen, where he had his blue prints spread out on the kitchen table. He taught me math, using the slide rule and how to read using the blue prints. We would sit over a cup of coffee (mine was a few drops of coffee and the rest milk) and working out the math for the structural members and foundation footings, before he put his signature and stamp on them.

                            I would give anything to see coffee being perked in the glass sided coffee pot and sharing a cup of joe with dad again!

                            Wow Crazy Uncle...good for you that you know how to use it.

                            I am struggling and I have a book on how to use it. But I will work on it page by page..

                            Oh..by the way...hang on to your Dad's olde slide rule if you can. They are expensive to get one today.

                            Yes...Crazy Uncle..I miss both my Dad and Mom.....as well.


                            Thanks for the info.

                            Orangetom
                            Not an Ishmaelite

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