Keuffel & Esser 4045 Mannheim Simplex Slide Rule

This sixteen-inch instrument has a wooden core coated with white celluloid that has yellowed considerably. There are A and D scales on the base, with B and C scales on one side of the slide; the scales are not labeled with letters. The reverse of the slide has S, T, and L scales, which are labeled with these letters. The top edge is beveled and has a scale of 16 inches, divided to sixteenths of an inch. The front edge has a scale of 41 centimeters, divided to millimeters. A table of numerical ratios and equivalences is pasted to the back of the rule.
The base is marked in red: KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. N.Y.; PAT. JUNE 5, 1900. K&E head of manufacturing Willie L. E. Keuffel received this patent for a method of adjusting a slide rule, accomplished with four screws on the back of the instrument. The left end of the slide is marked in red: < 4045 >. There is a glass "frameless" indicator with metal edges. The top edge is marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER Co (/) NEW YORK. The back of that edge is marked: PAT. APPL'FOR. Keuffel filed for a patent for the design of the frameless indicator on November 25, 1913, and received it in 1915. K&E began to show the indicator in its catalogs that same year. The slide rule sold for $10.00. The company sold model 4045 with this design of indicator until 1936, when the price was $13.00. Compare this example to MA*322761 and MA*308201.
The rule is in a cardboard box covered with black leather. The box is marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER Co. (/) MANNHEIM (/) SLIDE RULE. This instrument was in the possession of Edward Avery, a technician in the Department of Botany at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, until his death in about 1970. Where he obtained the instrument is not known.
References: Willie L. E. Keuffel, "Slide-Rule Runner" (U.S. Patent 1,150,771 issued August 17, 1915); Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser Co., 35th ed. (New York, 1915), 299; Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser Co., 38th ed. (New York, 1936), 311; accession file.
Object Name
slide rule
date made
ca 1915
Keuffel & Esser Co.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
celluloid (laminate material)
glass (cursor material)
metal (part material)
paper (case material)
leather (case material)
overall: .8 cm x 38 cm x 3.7 cm; 5/16 in x 14 31/32 in x 1 15/32 in
place made
United States: New York, New York
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Slide Rules
Rule, Calculating
Science & Mathematics
General Calculation
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Slide Rules
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Transfer from Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History
Additional Media

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