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+ - Do you know how to use a slide rule?-> 5

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high_rolla writes "How many of you know what a slide rule it? Better yet, how many of you have actually used one? The slide rule was a simple yet powerful and important tool for engineers and scientists before the days of calculators. In fact, several people I know still prefer to use them. In the interest of preserving this icon we have created a virtual slide rule for you to play with."
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Do you know how to use a slide rule?

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  • I don't know how to use one, but I actually had one as a child in the mid 70s. It looked neat! I liked to slide it around, look at the numbers, and when I had it, people thought I was smart! I wish I had kept it. I regret not hanging onto it. Although I would not trade my calculator for one! (The slide rule didn't have decimal-hexadecimal conversion.)
  • The explanation on the Engcom page seems wrong to me. Using the C and D scales, I get 2x2=4.4. Using the A and B scales I get the correct answer. Also, the page leaves half the features of the slide rule unexplained. They don't explain the difference between the scales, and don't expand abbreviations like LHI and RHI.
    • Thank you for your comment, the notes were actually a little vague and we've clarified them. The 2 you lined up the slider with was actually representing 1.2 and not 2. Which means you were actually multiplying 1.2 by 1.2 which is 1.44 (a trick to using slide rules is knowing where to place the decimal points). Using a slide rule isn't always straight forward and obvious, it's a skill you develop. We understand that there is a lot more to using slide rules than what we covered on the page but we were
  • I have 3 slide rules. I still use my log/log rule for electronics calculations. I also have a circular slide rule designed for navigation. They work great, no batteries needed. What I really like about them is that you can see how continuous functions operate much easier on a slide rule than with a calculator, but I'm not getting rid of my HP calculator anytime soon.

"Most of us, when all is said and done, like what we like and make up reasons for it afterwards." -- Soren F. Petersen