Friday, January 4, 2013

Demonstration Slide Rules

The other day, when I wrote about the retro steampunk slide rule table  that was advertised on the internet.  I mentioned then that I have three such slide rules myself (not tables, but slide rules).  I had occasion to be talking to the son of an associate of mine from 40 years ago.  I had seen a note that he had constructed, at that time, the world's largest slide rule.  I then proceeded to tell him about my three demonstrators.

In doing so, I found myself recounting how I had stumbled onto them and thought it might make a good post.

The first demonstration slide rule I acquired was the K&E Deci-Lon (68-1100) and here is how I acquired it.

Back in 1997 I was interested in buying some books and eBay seemed to be a good source for them, sometimes. If I found a book on eBay I would check out the availability of the same book  on  Sometimes Bookfinder was cheaper, sometimes more expensive. I would use that as my guide as to whether to bid or not on eBay.

I noticed that there were some books for which I had no interest that seemed to be selling for rather steep prices when compared to the prices listed on Bookfinder.  One particular book of poetry sold for about $150 on eBay and there were over a dozen copies on Bookfinder ranging around $10.  I ordered a copy on Bookfinder.  When it arrived I was surprized to see how tiny a book it was.  Anyway, I listed it on eBay.  The bidding was fierce and it sold for about $120.  I then bought another copy of the book on Bookfinder and again listed it on eBay.  A repeat of the previous auction and the book sold for just $115.

I then went back to Bookfinder and bought half a dozen copies of the same book.  I listed the book for the third time on eBay and, again, it sold for a substantial price over $100.  But, this time, after the auction ended I got a phone call from some fellow down in Texas who wanted to bid on the book and was at some football game during the last hours of the auction (back in those days it was still possible to contact the seller by phone). He said, "Please tell me that you did not sell that book to someone else." He went on to explain why he did not bid on the book and that he very much wanted it.
I told him that I just happened to have another copy of the book and I would be glad to sell it to him for the same price that the book had just sold for on eBay.  He seemed to be an interesting enough fellow, and we talked more.  In the conversation it came out that I collected slide rules.  He said to me that he had this slide rule, a demonstrator slide rule, that he had and would I be interested in swapping the book for the slide rule.  We agreed, and he shipped the K&E Deci-Lon 68-1100 to me in exchange for the book.  The book of poetry had cost me about $10 and the shipping was another few dollars.  So, I was very happen when my big and beautiful Deci-Lon arrived in perfect condition (and he paid the freight!)
I have used this slide rule as a valence over the window in my office for years.

The next demonstration slide rule I obtained was the Pickett 1010-ES.

This slide rule was part of a collection of about 200 slide rules that I bought near Oakland CA.  The fellow who had collected the slide rules had died and his daughter wanted to sell the collection.  I'll never forget that day when we were driving down the highway in a convertable with the top down with the slide rule hanging out there like a surf board.  I got more than a few looks on that trip.

The last demonstration slide rule is the K&E Polyphase 4053. I found this one on Craigslist up in the Seattle area. I had it shipped down.

I enjoy having these slide rules placed around the house and would entertain buying a few more.

No comments:

Post a Comment