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Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

(OP)
Welcome to a new thread about old things.

The original Slide Rules Collecting thread is now 120+ posts and more than two years old. So it is time to close it and start a new one.

Collecting antique, old, and yesterday's calculating devices is a fascinating hobby. I have learnt about history, commerce, science history and lots of other things that I always find interesting. I have met nice people and - believe it or not - also held little speeches on the subject. Without being hit by rotten eggs and tomatoes!

Slide Rules are still my main interest. But there are also other interesting devices like mechanical calculators, old electronic calculators, drawing instruments, planimeters and what have you. It would be interseting to hear about those things as well.

Welcome!

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
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100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

French curves.  And then really big curves for boat design.  You know, the yard sticks that bend and curve to any shape.  I can't remember the name of them, though.

And what is a drafting board without the appropriate protractor head on it?  Still want to get me one of those, and find room for it in the house.

--Scott

http://wertel.eng.pro

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

re: "100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again..."

...the wheel tends to get "rounder" everytime somebody shortens the "chord" distance and increases the "number" of flat-sided facits in Archemedes' PI-approximation.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Adjustable ships curves you can  still buy.


http://www.hoylegrips.com/rulers.htm
I never built a ship but they will do curves of any kind.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Eraser shields.  Plastic pencil leads.  

Needing a knife to both scratch off print and for on linen drawings to cut out sections that were beyond hope due to excessive erasing and then replacing with fresh linen.

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Some of the stuff I had at my drawing board:
Adjustable curves with anchors (for lofting)
Eradicator fluid (for non-erase sepias)
Electric eraser
Exacto knife
"Puffy" bag
Horsehair brush
Kneaded rubber
Proportional dividers
Emory paper
Plastic erasers and spit (for ink on mylar)
Template collections
Compass extensions (for BIG circles)
HB, F, H, etc leads
Adjustable point inker
Non-photo blue pencils

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

I nearly put electric erasers but you can still get them.  I bought a battery powered one at staples just a few weeks ago.

In fact I was surprised just how many 'old' hand drafting tools they had.

When I still had to do hand changes to old drawings back in 99 in the UK I couldn't find the tools, I had to beg borrow & steal them!

So is the US behind the times, did I not look well back in Blighty or is it because my town has a naval engineering base and a college that has engineering classes?

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

ewh

What no Pounce?  I have a couple of cans  butdon't use them. I just collect old stuff when it's handy.
I also have a brand new in the box Ames Lettering Guide.  

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

How could I have forgotten the Ames lettering guide!?!
Didn't like Pounce, always seemed to leave my drawing dirtier than it was before I applied it.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

You realize that mechanical pencils are getting to be "old" although still used.

I had my favorite brands that I can't find anymore.  My favorite was the "pencial chucker."  It had the long stick of graphite that was about 2mm in diameter that you had to sharpen.  The pencil was no more than an ergonomic collet to hold onto the lead.

I still have my erasing shield, dividers, compass, triangles, french curves, circle templates, elliptical templates (for doing iso views), and shape templates for arrowheads, balloons, and flag notes.

But more on topic with slide rules, what about all the handy slide charts?  Ones for bolt sizes, wrench clearances, spring and dowel pins, etc.?

--Scott

http://wertel.eng.pro

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Slide charts... I used a TAD calculater chart with all of that handy information.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

If your going to outfit a retro decore in your home office you need a Marchant 8CM mechanical calculator.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

(OP)
Yes BJC, or an HP 9100A. I am still wanting one!

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

What about the Leroy Lettering set?

old field guy

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

I just looked at the HP museum and saw a Sharp electronic calculator from the late 60's.  We had one like this in the early 70's.  It must have been a later model as it had 2 memories and I'm sure it did square roots.

This was replaced with a more advanced model with extra maths functions including the ability to do cube roots. It still had the light up tubes and the cube root took about 13 seconds to complete with the tubes flashing numbers as the iteration took place until the final figure was arrived at.

The first pocket one I had was a Sharp with memory, some maths functions and a red LED display.  It was battery/mains (rechargeable battery) and had a metal case finished in black.  Looked the dogs bo****ks in those days!

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

I didn't mention the Leroy Lettering set because it always seemed to be at someone elses board.
How about pantagraphs?

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Some things don't change... I still have the same Machinery's Handbook that I had when I was on the board, and it still gets used.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

dogs bo***ks = cats miow

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

flexible french curves

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

I still use an HP41-CV every day, originally purchased for a huge amount back in 1984. My old office memory ... that disgusting taste when licking an eraser to modify a drawing done in plastic lead. Yuk.

dogs bo***ks = muts nuts.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

dog's bo.....ks = dog's danglies

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

PeterCharles
Now you did it, your second link spelled it out.
Oops?
B.E.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

(OP)
A Polar Planimetre! I just got one. Fantastic device. But - how does it work? So simple and obviously doing it right (measuring areas of irregular surfaces). It is just sliding and rolling around and then comes up with the right area! Have to dig deeper here. Anyone done that?

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

(OP)
Yes! It helped. Thanks!

And I also found out that I had been hypercorrect in my spelling. It is NOT a "metre" it is a "meter" - because it measures.

But that sliding... No, I don't quite trust it. No more than I trust electronic devices.

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

It is not mentioned often but the planimeter was used extensively in the chemical industry for totalizing flow from the circular charts prior to totalizing recorders. It was used extensively by the process accountants to allocate  utility cost, process transfers, and verify yields/conversions.
One of my very first task was to learn to use the planimeter to verify any questionable results by the accounting department. I don't know why the girls were far better at it than me and I never got any numbers changed.

We made use of the pantograph big time in the manufacture of spinnerettes of any shape other than round . Our machine was developed in the early 60's prior to the advent on any NC controls. We used circular cams and used the pantograph to translate the circular motion to X-Y movement and at the same time reduce the output motion by a factor up to 50:1. By using this approach we could cut almost any figure one could draw.
These machines are still in use today.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Way back in mechanical lab we used planemeters to determine the BMEP of engines.
There was a device that connected to the cylinder of an engine that drew a chart of pressure vs positoin of the piston.   Memory is hazy on this i can remember the device that measured the pressure. You had to wrap graph paper around it and it rotated.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

BJC, I seem to remember that Lab too, something about using it on Submarine Engines too.

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

(OP)
That one I remember! A so-called indicator diagram showing a closed curve with pressure vertically and piston position horisontally. But I have no idea why I remember it. Never got close to an ICE or steam engine in education or work.

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Part of my college engineering training in the early/mid 1960's was a full steam engine test.
This involved firing up the gas fired boiler to produce the steam, monitoring the gas flow and steam produced, running the engine, doing a brake test and getting the indicator diagram on the steam cylinder which was then measured with a planimeter.  
It was great fun, real practical test work.  The flywheel had an internal recess into which you ran water to cool the brake surface, fine then rotating but as it came to a stop one lad was too close and got water all over his trousers and shoes!

I suppose now elf'n safety would mean you'd be watching a thirty year old film of it.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Fellows you are dating me.
I actually ran indicator diagrams on real live steam engines. These engines were the prime mover on IR 5CVE Hyper Compressors. We ran a diagram on one engine out of 5 a week. We would run one diagram and the mechanic would tune the valves and we would rerun the diagram. I mentioned before that we had very dedicated mechanic that keep these machines running so 99% of the time the diagrams looked like textbook examples. Even diagrams taken a year apart would fall right on the previous diagram.

We used a Elliot as shown on this site.
 
http://www.prestonservices.co.uk/instruments.htm

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Preston didn't have an Orsat analyzer.  Must deal in steam goodies only.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

The Orsat analyzer was a ubiquitous laboratory instrument that for year was the only practical way to analyze for CO2, CO, and O2. Even though it saw a lot of use around and fired systems to help determine efficiency there were myriads of other uses both in the field an laboratory. If you took a hard look at the instrument it was lesson in chemistry in that it required the use of several basic principles, like absorption, adsorption, chemical reactions, and last but not least the gas laws.

My encounters with the Orsat started when I started school under the CO-OP plan. The lab where I worked accomplished around 30 Carbon Analysis a day using a modified Orsat to measure Carbon in CI, CS, and SS by means of combustion in an O2 atmosphere. This instrument was quite elaborate in that it had 3 different size volumetric chambers for measuring.
During my career in the chemical industry we used the Orsat to monitor the regeneration by steam/air oxidation of metallic catalyst, measuring O2 in the off gas of an air oxidation process, monitoring the inert gas systems, and keeping tabs on a bio-oxidation process and few more.
In my early days it seemed like every where I went I was lugging the Orsat and a volumetric gas flow meter around as I had become the expert due to my previous experience with same.

 




RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

(OP)
About gas analyzers. I guess that anyone working in places like steel works, mines, cokeries have used the Draeger with glass tubes. Are they still used?

And, came to think of a real old one, the Schwackhöfer Hygrometer. Anyone knows about that?

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Yes Drager tubes are still used everyday. I was just out to a job site where Drager tubes were being used to detect NOX and CO during a repair job. The Drager tubes were a boon to checking vessels for entry in that you didn't have to use your nose for NH3 and NOX among others.

I forgot one very important use of the Orsat when I started to work in the chemical industry. It was used to check the atmosphere for vessel entries. It and and the MSA explosimeter were the tools clear a vessel for entry.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

This may take a couple of times to get right.  
The board is a K&E "Pretty Neat" and they were.  Great for making sketches.
Even better was the "Size Matic". A mechanical calculator that would add and subtract feet, inches and fractions of inches ( to 1/16 inch).
The rolling rule is not unique or old, however it is the only thing I have made in Australia.

[IMG]http://i17.tinypic.com/52yfp6f.jpg[/IMG]

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

(OP)
Hi BJC,

That Pretty Neat board. Is it made by Keuffel & Esser? The famous Slide Rule maker?

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Opps!
It was late and when I did that and was concentrating on  getting the photo on the site.  IT's not K&E it's Dietzgen.  Eugene Dietzgen - the one who made slide rules among other things.
Here's all I can find on the web.
http://books.google.com/books?id=1WUIIh99xDkC&pg=PA28&lpg=PA28&dq=dietzgen+%22pretty+neat%22+drawing+board&source=web&ots=v7GDF0YBnV&sig=p8t_jXcAcYtg24lA4rpZsAuEBqk
The website is very interesting.  I am going to spend some time there.
These were made in several sizesI ahve the the 379B 8-1/2 x 11 and the 379H 11x 17.
They were bought 40 years ago. I have ordered some for a job about 10 or 15 years ago.  I wouldn't be supprized if there not still meing mad somewhere.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

Speaking of calculators, what about the old electric rotary monsters?  There was one in the engineering drawing lab when I was a freshman in College and we got to dinking around with it and divided by zero and it wouldn't stop.  We tried and tried and tried to get it to stop.  If we unplugged it, when we plugged it back in it started up again; just a chugging along.  We were afraid to fess up to the professor what we had done so we hid it in a closet, with it just grinding away.  Every day we checked on it and it was still running.  After 4 days, we gave up and went and found the Prof.  He laughed and laughed and just hit the "div stop" key and it quit.  Fortunately he thought it funnier than serious and we didn't get in trouble.

About the time I graduated and went to work, in my second job I worked in an engineering department.  The company wouldn't buy us an electronic calculator.  I bought myself a HP 45 or 55 (10 step programmable) I can't remember but what I do remember is that it cost a month's salary and wouldn't fit in my pocket.  But I bought it out of my personal funds.  My manager had a TI of some kind that he too, bought with his personal funds.  On crunch days when we had some real important project to get out I would just bring my slide rule to work and leave the calculator home.  He hated it but what could he say.  I kept telling him to reimburse me for the calculator and I'd bring it in every day.

The company had a surplus equipment sale and I had had some experience in successfully bidding on surplus military equipment so I decided to try my skills and put in a bid on an old electric rotary calculator.  I won the bid and took the thing to my office and cranked it up.  Immediately engineers from neighboring offices (they weren't cubes in those days, but the walls didn't go all the way to the ceiling either) came pouring in and began to lament that the previous occupant of my space had driven them nuts with an electric rotary calculator and they even identified the one that I had bid on and won as his old machine by a chipped key on the front of it.  They were sick about it's return to the department.  I only tortured them with it for a couple of days before I quit using it.  I think if I searched in some storage sheds or the attic, I could find it.

rmw

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

rmw, Star just for making me chuckle.  I love the idea of not bringing in your calculator, way to stick it to the mansmile, what effect did it have on your career prospects at that place though?

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

(OP)
Electro-mechanic (or mechano-electric?) calculators seem to fascinate even today. My grandchild Edwin (5 years) found an old, I mean OLD, Dalton, Cincinnati electric adding machine that I planned to restore when i get the time for it (there are a few things with higher priority). Being a good grandfather, I explained the functioning of it, plugged it in and left Edwin exploring. He very quickly managed to have it in never-end mode and I could hear it working for a while. Then I heard him crying out loud. It must have been worse than a horror movie for him. The machine had started screaming and thick smoke came out of it. I hope that it doesn't make him afraid of math - there are many reasons for that, I have been told.

One good thing is that I have one less item on my "to-do" list.

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

I've got a bunch of old stuff that I'm claiming are of historical value:

Daisy-wheel printer
Original Osborne 1
9-track computer tape
8-in floppy disk (unfortunately, I never had the drive itself)

Oddly, dot-matrix printers are still present.  My doctor's office uses a bunch of Okidata dot-matrix printers to print multi-part forms.

TTFN

FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

In that I remember and still use 90% of whsat has been mentioned above, you guys make me feel ooooooold.

No one mentioned "Presstype" though...

And how about a "Planimeter".  

Mike McCann
McCann Engineering

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

I haven't run into the "Presstype" but have done a lot of work around a machine call the "Varytype".

All our older Engineering Standards, Process Data Sheets and any other document that required multiple fonts and sizes were composed on the Varytype.

Our original one was same as the top picture with the wide carriage.

http://staff.xu.edu/~polt/typewriters/varityper.html

We had just purchased this one when IBM came out with the composer. These were soon overtaken by the larger computers and then the PC.

http://www.textfiles.com/digitize/items/1980-varityper-
brochure/

As stated previously have spent many hours using the planimeter to tantalize flow on circular charts used on Republic Instrument's Flow Meters.

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

(OP)
Thanks unclesyd!

That Varityper is news to me. Very interesting. Want one!

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Slide Rules, Calculators and other fun stuff

(OP)
Thanks a lot!

But, there is a rather big error in the calculations with this device. If you align A and B index (C and D are of course also aligned, no problem there) and then read the 10 on A and B scales, you will see that 1x10 = 9.99. That is a 1 % error and that is not typical at all for even the crudest slide rule.

I see no reason why this is so. Is it emphasize that slide rules are analog devices and hence not to be trusted? Or is it my computer that errs?

Anyhow. It is an otherwise beautifully made model. Smooth operation and nice colours.

But, why the error?

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

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