Last Updated: 2/11/15
Link to Oughtred Society seminar added.
DISCLAIMER: I do not sell slide
rules or slide rule parts.
This page is dedicated to my collection of slide rules (moderate in size,
fairly low in value), plus a few helpful links for those who want to find out
more about the playful little things, or where to buy one. The picture to
the right is me with some of my slide rules, as taken by Columbus Dispatch
photographer Neal C. Lauron. The Dispatch did a piece on "Dinosaur
Technology" in the business section on July 5, 1999, and I was interviewed as
a local source on slide rules. And yes, I did shave two hours before the
photo was taken...something about the digital camera apparently picked up on
an otherwise undetectable two hour's growth of beard.
Few things in history have become so completely and quickly obsolete as the
slide rule, replaced by the electronic calculator and portable computer.
Even abacuses are still used in some circles, but everyone who would have
used a slide rule now uses an electronic calculator instead. Well, everyone
but collectors and diehards. :) Thing is, slide rules aren't inferior to
electronic calculators in all respects, and there's certain things a
slide rule might even help students with, such as estimation and order of
magnitude. Unfortunately, because the demise of the slide rule was so rapid
(less than ten years, really), and because no one thought to do comparative
research at the time (not that I've been able to find), it's impossible to
really say if slipsticks are better at helping knowledge stick. Of course,
if you can point me to a scholarly study, I'd be grateful (physics education
research is my area of study in "real life").
This page was starting to load pretty slowly, so I decided to move the
gallery of my growing collection off to another page. Last updated: 11/10/14 with nuclear bomb rule.
While the HP Museum below gives some basics on slide rule operation and has
links to other pages with such information, my page seems to show up pretty
high in search engine results, so I get the occasional "how do they work?"
questions. This straight-text file gives a short lesson on how to use the
more common slide rule functions. It does not, however, explain the math
involved...if you don't know what a logarithm is, or what it means to take
something to the 3/2 power, consult a mathematics text. :)
Updated 2/4/04 with a few notes at the bottom.
Slide Rule Links
A set of slides in PDF form prepared by the Oughtred Society, covering the
history of slide rules and some basics of their use.|
A VERY cool page with all sorts of explanations of how sliderules work and
pictures of various types, including circular and cylindrical. Recently
moved to a new site and upgraded. No frames, just nice use of tables.
I've changed the link to point directly at the section on slide rules and
their history, click here to visit the
main HP Museum page.
While this site sells "new" and used rules, they specialize in replacement
parts and general repair stuff, plus accessories (cases, paperwork, etc) to
help you take that loose rule off eBay and kit it out with all the extras.
Hemmi and Post brand rules have the deepest selection. Updated 3/1/10.
Another slide rule sales/trade site, carrying both like-new rules and more
"lived-in" rules. Has a LOT of images, a good resource even if you're
just looking around. I don't really trade in rules myself, so I can't give
any estimates of the value of your rule, but Crate should have some idea.
Among other resources on this page is a nearly complete "Teach Yourself The
Slide Rule" manual that Manley has scanned in. Useful if you find my primer
to be somewhat lacking.
This came to my attention via a link on Make Magazine for
the World's Biggest Slide
The old page I had up with a Java slide rule is definitely dead. A reader
supplied me with this new link.
Take the geekitude of the previous link and augment it. Numerous simulated
Concise is still in operation, in Japan at least, and this page describes how
to order from them.
ThinkGeek is offering a new slide rule that's a replica of the Pickett M-120
(as fat as I can tell), selling it for $29.99. Of course, actual M-120's are
pretty easy to find for less, but if you don't like the idea of using someone
else's leftovers, you can get one here new.
This presents itself as the "complete authoritative listing of all Hemmi
slide rules ever made."