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Slide Rules -- Resources



In addition to the objects in the Mathematics Collection, slide rules may be found in the Physical Sciences, Work & Industry, Armed Forces History, and Graphic Arts collections at NMAH. Slide rules from the National Air & Space Museum, chiefly used by NASA engineers during the space race of the 1960s, may be viewed on The collections database also provides information about trade catalogs from at least 32 different retailers and manufacturers and about American and European textbooks and treatises about slide rules, all held by the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

Online Collections from Other Museums

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. Collections. Search by keyword through 18,280 object records, including 107 slide rules and related documentation.

Department of the History of Science, Harvard University. Waywiser. Photographs and detailed descriptions for 218 slide rules, along with links to manufacturer histories.

MIT Museum Collections. Recipient of a massive donation from Keuffel & Esser, the museum has photographs of 545 rules by all makers available online.

The Museum of HP Calculators. Slide Rules. Historical information, instructions for using a slide rule, and photographs of approximately 50 slide rules.

L. E. Jones Collection, University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection. Photographs and descriptions of over 50 slide rules and calculating devices amassed by a physics and engineering professor during his 40-year career.

General Resources

Cajori, Florian. A History of the Logarithmic Slide Rule and Allied Instruments. New York: Engineering News Publishing Company, 1909. Pioneering effort at untangling the early history of the slide rule.

Hopp, Peter M. Slide Rules: Their History, Models, and Makers. Mendham, N.J.: Astragal Press, 1999. Encyclopedic listing of manufacturers and their products. For more guides to slide rules and their histories, see the publisher's website,

International Slide Rule Museum. Edited by Mike Konshak. Operates a slide rule loaner program for school and undergraduate classrooms. The site also has a cornucopia of slide rule specimens and information on dozens of American, European, and East Asian manufacturers.

The Oughtred Society. International organization that holds conferences, publishes Journal of the Oughtred Society, and offers free resources including a downloadable manual, All About Slide Rules, and JOS articles from 1991 to 2006.

Pasquale, Joseph. "Mathematical Foundations of the Slide Rule." 26 June 2011.

Shawlee II, Walter, et al. The Slide Rule Universe Archives. Information on approximately 12 slide rule manufacturers, digitized instruction manuals, and vintage rules for sale.

von Jezierski, Dieter. Slide Rules: A Journey Through Three Centuries. Translated by Rodger Shepherd. Mendham, N.J.: Astragal Press, 2000. Reasonably detailed information about general history and a number of prominent European and American manufacturers.

Resources for Specific Companies or Rules

Note: These references provide a starter list, with additional sources listed in individual object records. Furthermore, the online archives for Journal of the Oughtred Society ( and Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society ( provide access to many other slide rule articles.

American Inventors

Aldinger, Henry, and Ed Chamberlain. "Gilson Slide Rules." Journal of the Oughtred Society 9, no. 1 (2000): 48–60 and 9, no. 2 (2000): 47–58.

Barnes, Colin. "Palmer's Computing Scale and Fuller's Time Telegraph." Slide Rule Gazette 6 (Autumn 2005): 87–97.

Kidwell, Peggy A. "Nystrom's Calculating Rule." Rittenhouse 1 (1987): 102-105.

———. "Computing Devices, Mathematics Education, and Mathematics: Sexton's Omnimetre in Its Time." Historia Mathematica 36 (2009): 395–404.

Carpentry and Gauging Rules

Babcock, Bruce. "A Guided Tour of an 18th Century Carpenter's Rule." Journal of the Oughtred Society 3, no. 1 (1994): 26–34.

Barnes, Colin. "The Customs and Excise Gauging Slide Rule." Journal of the Oughtred Society 4, no. 2 (1995): 53-57.


Venetsianos, Panagiotis. "A. W. Faber Castell Slide Rules." Journal of the Oughtred Society 9, no. 1 (2000): 3-6.


Berchers, Brian, and Noël H. Cotter. "The Sun Hemmi System of Trigonometric and Hyperbolic Scales." Journal of the Oughtred Society 9, no. 2 (2000): 28-31.

Ross, Paul. "A Comprehensive Hemmi Slide Rule Catalog." Journal of the Oughtred Society 12, no. 1 (2003): 41–53.

Keuffel & Esser

Babcock, Bruce. "K&E Student's and Beginner's Slide Rules – 1897 to 1954." Journal of the Oughtred Society 4, no. 2 (1995): 41–49.

Franklin, William, ed. Partners in Creating: The First Century of K&E, 1867–1967. [New York]: Keuffel and Esser Co., 1967.

McCoy, Clark, ed. Keuffel & Esser Catalogs and Price Lists for Slide Rules, [1881–1972]. 2002-2012.

Otnes, Bob. "Keuffel & Esser -- 1880 to 1899." Journal of the Oughtred Society 10, no. 1 (2001): 18-28.

Soper, Joseph L. K&E Salisbury Products Division Slide Rules. Pleasanton, CA: The Oughtred Society, 2007.


Babcock, Bruce E. "Pickett Metal Slide Rules." Journal of the Oughtred Society 1, no. 1 (1992): 5–13.

Borchers, Brian. "Five Pickett Electronics Slide Rules." Journal of the Oughtred Society 12, no. 1 (2003): 4–7.


Ross, Paul, and Ted Hume. "Slide Rules of the Frederick Post Company." Journal of the Oughtred Society 9, no. 2 (2000): 37–46.


Feely, Wayne E. "Thacher Cylindrical Slide Rules." The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association 50 (1997): 125-127.