Gebr. Wichmann Mannheim Simplex Slide Rule

This five-inch, one-sided cardboard linear slide rule has a metal cursor in the double-chisel style. (Compare to MA*318477 and 1977.0370.01.) There are A and D scales on the base and B and C scales on the slide. The A and B scales are divided logarithmically from 1 to 10 twice. The C and D scales are divided logarithmically from 1 to 10 once. A figure holding a club is shown in the lower left corner. A dark brown case of coated paper is included.
The figure on the slide rule was used by Gebr. Wichmann (Wichmann Brothers) in Berlin, a company founded in 1873. In materials, size, and scales, this instrument closely resembles model 466, shown in the 1910 catalog. However, the illustration in the catalog indicates that the maker's name, place of manufacture, model number, and price are printed on the front of the rule. This instrument does not have these marks, so it may have been made before 1910. The No. 466 slide rule sold for 0.75 marks and was one of the least expensive slide rules listed in the catalog. (Only model 469, with a C scale that began at pi, sold for the same price.)
This instrument is signed on the back: W. F. Meggers. William F. Meggers (1888–1966) was a spectroscopist long associated with the U.S. National Bureau of Standards. He received his B.A. in physics from Ripon College in 1910, his M.A. in physics from the University of Wisconsin in 1916, and his Ph.D. in physics, mathematics, and astronomy from Johns Hopkins University in 1917. If he used this rule, it seems likely that he acquired it as a student. For a slide rule apparently acquired by Meggers in 1907 that was considerably more precise and more costly, see MA*335270.
References: Gebr. Wichmann, Anleitung zum Gebrauch des Rechenstabes (Berlin, 1910), 21; "Dr. Meggers Dies at 78," The NBS Standard 11, no. 9 (December 1966): 2–3.
Currently not on view
Object Name
calculating rule
slide rule
date made
before 1910
Gebr. Wichmann
Physical Description
metal (cursor material)
paper (overall material)
overall: .1 cm x 15.2 cm x 3.2 cm; 1/32 in x 5 31/32 in x 1 1/4 in
place made
Deutschland: Berlin, Berlin
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Mathematics
Rule, Calculating
Slide Rules
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Slide Rules
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana
Additional Media

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