Saturday, December 29, 2012

Steampunk Slide Rules and Other Retro Computing Devices

I never thought I would see the day when the instructional slide rule from the mid twentieth century would become a pop culture icon.  I just found this item for sale on the Internet.  Someone thought it was worth the price and actually bought it for $1195 plus shipping.

Overall Dimensions
29" H X 15" W X 84" D
73.7cm H X 38.1cm W X 213.4cm D
Rare, large mid-century Pickett brand slide rule that was given to teacher's as a bonus with their student slide rule orders. It would hang at the front of the room and be used for classroom demonstation. The 7-foot long classic yellow slide rule is now suspended into custom-made stainless table base. The slide rule is completely functional, iincluding movable cursor and center slide. Secondary shelf area beneath could hold glass and/or add glass to top if you choose. This is a unique mathmatical classroom artifact with sophisticated, contemporary design. Use as sofa, hallway, office or entry table.

I own three instructional slide rules: two K&E slide rules (the Deci-Lon 68 1100 and the Polyphase 4053) and the Pickett 1010 ES.  I knew there was a reason that I bought those. Where is my sawhorse?

While on the subject of retro steampunk slide rules, I did see an Otis King cylindrical slide rule that was mounted onto a cane.  This was at an antique show many years ago in upstate New York. It popped up again at the 2003 East Coast Oughtred Society Meeting.  The only reference to it that I could find with a picture was here.  I have now found another one that went up for auction on August 9, 2008, in Johnson City, TN. It sold for $750 plus the buyer's premium of 20% plus tax. So, $900 would be a fair price to say that it sold for.  I have an image of that one here below.

I have a birch limb that I've always wanted to convert to an Otis King cane, but I can't quite bring myself to destroy a perfectly good Otis King slide rule to make one. I have tried to find a non-functional  one to buy for that purpose.

I also have seen a Norden bombsight that was converted to a coffee table.  The metal shield was removed on the top and replaced with glass. Cool! I wish I had a picture to show you.

If anyone has seen any other retro type computing device that has been converted to a useful modern item (or even not so useful item) I would like to know.  Please leave a comment or contact me and send an image. I'm sure that some of the other readers of this blog would like to see it.

Addendum 3/3/13
I found another one -- A clock with a slide rule pendulum
Here it is:

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