Keuffel & Esser 4054 Polyphase Mannheim Simplex Slide Rule

This ten-inch mahogany linear slide rule is coated with white celluloid on the front and on both sides of the slide. The base has A, D, and K scales. One side of the slide has B, CI, and C scales; the other side has S, L, and T scales. A paper table of equivalents and slide rule settings, based on U. S. Bureau of Standards Circular No. 47, is pasted to the back of the rule. See also 1981.0933.05 and 1999.0254.01. The indicator is glass with a plastic frame, of the style used by Keuffel & Esser after the 1937 patent indicated by the mark on the top edge of the frame: PATENT 2,086,502. A piece of the bottom edge of the frame is missing.
The top of the base is marked in red: KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. N.Y.; PAT. 1,934,232, MADE IN U.S.A. The patent was issued in 1933 and refers to an improvement in assembling the instrument so that users could not as easily over-tighten the screws used to adjust the rule. The right end of the slide is marked in red with the model number: < 4054 >. The left end of the back of the slide and the front left corner of the base are marked with a serial number: 120337.
The rule fits in a cardboard case covered with black leather. The top of the flap is marked: K & E (/) SLIDE RULE. The front of the flap is marked: 4054 (/) K + E. The case fits into a dark green cardboard box. Also inside the box is K&E pamphlet no. 3-44, titled "How to take care of your K & E slide rule: Mannheim" and copyrighted in 1944. Keuffel and Esser of New York sold this version of model 4054 from 1944 through 1952; the serial number is consistent with a date closer to 1944. The price in 1947 was $9.00. This example was purchased by the donor's grandfather, Abraham Nezin (1891–1987), when he took a course on operating new equipment obtained for his laundry on South Capital Street in Southwest Washington, D.C.
References: Adolf W. Keuffel, "Slide Rules," (U.S. Patent 1,934,232 issued November 7, 1933); Adolf W. Keuffel, "Runner for Slide Rules" (U.S. Patent 2,086,502 issued July 6, 1937); Bob Otnes, "Adolf Keuffel and the Later K&E Slide Rules," Journal of the Oughtred Society 8, no. 1 (1999): 37–38; Clark McCoy, "Collection of Pages from K&E Catalogs for the 4054 Family,"; Ed Chamberlain, "Estimating K&E Slide Rule Dates," 27 December 2000,
Currently not on view
Object Name
slide rule
date made
Keuffel & Esser Co.
Physical Description
mahogany (overall material)
celluloid (laminate material)
glass (cursor material)
paper (part material)
leather (case material)
overall: 3.8 cm x 29 cm x 6 cm; 1 1/2 in x 11 13/32 in x 2 3/8 in
place made
United States: New Jersey, Hoboken
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Rule, Calculating
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Slide Rules
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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