Scale RulesCalculating Rules
In addition to length measurements, scale rules could be marked with aids for calculation. Perhaps the most notable rule of this type was Gunter's scale, which was similar to a sector or a slide rule. Gunter's scales are named after Edmund Gunter, a 17th-century English mathematical practitioner who figured out how to put a table of logarithms on a rule so that logarithmic calculations could be made with the aid of dividers. These instruments were especially handy for mathematicians and navigators.
The mathematics collections contain several other objects, ranging from the 18th to the 20th centuries, that were used to simplify computations for tasks including designing sundials, keeping track of calendar dates, and plotting data for aeronautical engineering. A few of these rules were designed specifically for positioning artillery.
"Scale Rules - Calculating Rules" showing 1 items.
- The citation information for this 40-page stapled booklet is: H. Joseph Gerber, The Gerber Variable Scale: An Application and Instruction Manual (Hartford, Conn.: The Gerber Scientific Instrument Company, 1981). Gerber wrote these instructions in 1953 to accompany his invention; see 1994.0113.01. He inscribed this copy to Steve Lubar, who was chair of the division of history of technology when Gerber donated examples of several mathematical instruments he had invented.
- The booklet explains the construction and use of the Gerber Variable Scale. It then describes typical problems that could be solved with the instrument, including finding points in a family of curves, translating curves, reading graphs more precisely, converting between proportional scales, enlarging and reducing engineering drawings, normalizing curves, interpolating points, counting cycles of frequencies, dividing one curve by another, determining the center of gravity, reading oscillograms, and mapping aerial photographs.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Gerber Scientific Instrument Co.
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- accession number
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center