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 ten-inch, one-sided plastic rule has a yellow base, a white slide, and a transparent indicator. Identical logarithmic scales are on the top and the bottom of the base. Both sides of the slide are marked with pairs of metric and conventional units. On one side, the user can read off conversions between: inches and centimeters; meters and feet; meters and yards; miles and kilometers; square inches and square centimeters; square meters and square feet (times ten); square meters and square yards; and square miles and square kilometers. The other side of the slide permits readings of cubic inches and cubic centimeters (times ten); cubic meters and cubic feet (times ten); cubic meters and cubic yards; liters and quarts; ounces and grams (times ten); kilograms and pounds; metric tons and short tons; and gallons and liters.
- The top left of the base is marked with the letters SP in a circle and the word STERLING. The top middle of the base is marked: METRIC CONVERTER. The bottom left of the base is marked: MADE IN U.S.A. The rule was received with its original packaging, a clear plastic cover on a blue paper backing. The packaging is marked at the top: SP STERLING #651 (/) metric (/) converter. At the bottom, it is marked: BORDEN ® (/) © 1972 STERLING PLASTICS (/) DIVISION OF BORDEN CHEMICAL, BORDEN INC. (/) MOUNTAINSIDE, N.J. 07092 (/) MADE IN U.S.A.
- Sterling Plastics, a 20th-century manufacturer of drawing instruments for schools, was purchased by Borden Chemical in 1970. Since Sterling stopped making slide rules in 1972, this example of model number 651 was probably one of the last rules produced by the company. The five braces holding together the base of the instrument are also consistent with this date; early Sterling slide rules had only two braces. For instructions, see 1990.0689.03. For a Sterling slide rule with standard scales, see 1988.0807.01.
- Reference: Mike Konshak, "Sterling Plastics," http://sliderulemuseum.com/Sterling.htm.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Sterling Plastics
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center