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ARCHIVE: Touched by a slide rule

Thu. Dec 22nd 2005, 06:12pm:

I can't believe that unbeknownst to me for over 18 months, there was a real-life slide rule sitting in my coworker's desk, more specifically the K & E Deci-Lon. In his own words, he used to hang it from his belt during the 1960s or as he put it, his "nerdy years." Every slide rule came with its own 100-300 page instruction manual, complete with examples, exercises, and detailed diagrams.

If you don't know what a slide rule is, just think of it as a little instrument or tool that was used to perform complex mathematical calculations before the time of calculators, computers, and CAD software. The entire construction of pretty much every single building in the world, especially skyscrapers, between the 1700s and 1950s was possible only because of calculations made on little slide rules. Some day, I hope to learn how to use one.