Pickett 61 Student Simplex Slide Rule

This one-sided five-inch white plastic rule has a plastic indicator attached as a bracket (i.e., there is no back). The base has K, A, D, and L scales, with B, CI, and C scales on the slide. The left end of the slide is marked: MODEL 61, and the right side has the Pickett triangular logo in white, which was chiefly used between 1950 and 1958. The number 38 is printed above the logo.
The rule slides into a black synthetic leather stitched case, which fits in an orange and black paper box. A Pickett triangular logo with block print and inside a circle appears on the box. This form of logo was used between 1962 and 1964. The logo and the plastic material used in the rule suggest the instrument was made in the 1960s.
The ends of the box are marked: PLASTIC TRAINER SLIDE RULE; NO. 61 (/) $1.95; FINEST QUALITY ENGRAVED (/) 5" SLIDE RULE. The top and bottom of the box describe the instrument as a STUDENT SLIDE RULE. It came with a pamphlet, "How to Use Basic Slide Rules in 3 Easy Steps" (1991.0445.02.01). Students were permitted to trade this rule in toward the purchase of a Pickett all-metal rule.
Argentine-born electrical and mechanical engineer Richard R. Lombardi used this slide rule and donated it to the Smithsonian. A price tag on the box and a receipt for the object indicates he paid $1.56; the receipt is dated 1971, although the trade-in certificate also included with the rule expired in 1966. Company marks on the pamphlet indicate it was printed after 1964.
Reference: Peter M. Hopp, "Scales and Gauge Points," in Slide Rules: Their History, Models, and Makers (Mendham, N.J.: Astragal Press, 1999), 285–287.
Currently not on view
Object Name
slide rule
date purchased
Pickett Industries
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
paper (case material)
overall: 1.7 cm x 22.3 cm x 7.5 cm; 21/32 in x 8 25/32 in x 2 15/16 in
place made
United States: California, Santa Barbara
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Rule, Calculating
Slide Rules
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Slide Rules
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Richard R. Lombardi
Additional Media

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