Friday, 3 October 2008

Heirloom


How many of you are old enough to have learned how to use one of these at school? For once, I can gleefully say that I'm not. It's a slide rule, of course, and it's what people had before they invented pocket calculators.

It works on the same principle as log tables. I'm too young to have been taught those, too, though naturally I did learn about logarithms, so I do understand how they were used.

This was my father's, probably circa 1970, when he was getting some qualifications to make up for the fact that he'd left school at 15. My mother found it a while after he died, and being a young mathematics student I was fascinated by it, and started to use it. For most calculations it gives an accurate enough answer - generally 2 or 3 significant figures.

It's difficult to see a use for it in our computer age, and being plastic it's not very decorative. However, it is one of the few things I have that I really value - simple (it's just two pieces of plastic that slide), yet highly functional. I must admit, though, that the last time I used it was to draw a straight line...

9 comments:

Jean Knee said...

F I R S T

for a different kind of girl said...

What a great little treasure to have. I'd not have the first clue what to do with it, but I'm math-inept!

Bee said...

How cool!
The only thing I have of my dad's is a vintage beer can circa 1980. Just kidding. I don't even have that. ;o)

Bee said...

What's up with jean knee's drive by firsting??

Brian o vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

Good Evening!

FADKOG:

No, it's not something that you can use well unless you have enough of a head for figures...

Bee:

I'm not really into having things, and I think this is about the only tangible reminder I have of my father, other than a print of a 19th century map of Washington DC (long story!) and most importantly, me...

I don't know what's happened to Jean Knee. She's probably spending too much time in her new role as the children's arms dealer.

Jean Knee said...

I had to drive by first because we took Lean to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua.



Why can't we ever end up with gold coins or loose diamonds from our dads?

Brian o vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

Sounds ghastly. I'm glad you survived.

I suppose you'd have to make sure you were the child of a smuggler. You could always put yourself up for adoption.

Jean Knee said...

forget adoption, I'll just be happy with my dad's round to it
collection :)

Chris Wood said...

Old fashioned tools are superb. My gran had a thing called a comptometer which was the most bizarre adding up machine you've ever seen. Or not if you haven't seen one.