Sterling Precision Simplex Slide Rule

This inexpensive one-sided white plastic slide rule has A, D, and K scales on the base, with S, L, and T scales on one side of the slide and B, CI, and C scales on the other side of the slide. The indicator is clear frameless plastic. The top of the base is marked: SP [inside a circle] PRECISION STERLING SLIDE RULE MADE IN U.S.A. The logo was trademarked by Sterling Plastics Company of Mountainside, N.J., in 1945. A clear plastic case has blue endpieces and is stamped 99¢.
According to Peter M. Hopp, Sterling began making slide rules in 1961. The company ceased producing slide rules around 1972. Since there are only two bridges holding the base together instead of five, Konshak suggests this example was made early in this time period. This example is probably model number 584. The Precision line came in various forms, as other examples have rulers on beveled edges, red scales, or green slides or bases. These were often sold as model number 685. For instructions, see 1988.0807.05. For company history, see 1998.3104.01.
References: Peter M. Hopp, Slide Rules: Their History, Models, and Makers (Mendham, N.J.: Astragal Press, 1999), 222; Mike Konshak, "Sterling Plastics,"
Currently not on view
Object Name
slide rule in case
date made
Sterling Plastics
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
overall: 1 cm x 28.2 cm x 4.5 cm; 13/32 in x 11 3/32 in x 1 25/32 in
place made
United States: New Jersey, Mountainside
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Mathematics
Slide Rules
Rule, Calculating
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 George A. Norton
Additional Media

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