Slide RulesIndex by Purpose
While many slide rules were made as general calculating instruments, for multiplying numbers and solving equations with squares, cubes, trigonometric functions, and logarithms, many others were made to ease the calculations associated with a specific task. Click on items in the list below to see rules in the collection with an identifiable specialized purpose. For comparison, a few illustrative examples of all-purpose slide rules are shown under the link to General Calculation.
"Slide Rules - Index by Purpose" showing 1 items.
- This large mahogany linear astronomical slide rule is covered with strips of German silver. There are two slides, each of which have scales on both sides. Each slide has a knob near one end for moving it; these may be unscrewed and attached on the reverse side. One slide is marked COLLIMATION on one side and AZIMUTH on the other. The other slide is marked LEVEL AZIMUTH on one side and REFRACTION on the other. The base has four identical, unlabeled logarithmic scales, each of which runs from 1 to 10 twice (with a bit more at each end).
- On the center portion of the base, the instrument is marked Darling Brown & Sharpe Providence R.I. Darling, Brown & Sharpe did business under that name from 1866 to 1892. For additional company history, see 1977.0460.01. According to records of the United States Naval Observatory, this slide rule was purchased for $154.00 in December 1887. Few slide rules specifically for astronomy survive, so these large and expensive objects were probably not widely used. Compare to two late 19th-century rules held by the Powerhouse Museum, http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=233017.
- Reference: Ledger of Instruments Purchased by the U.S. Naval Observatory, ca. 1845–1906, United States Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Darling, Samuel
- Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Company
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center