Slide Rule Where to Buy

Here`s a fun alternative to a traditional slide rule: The most obvious places to look for slide rules today are flea markets and antique shops, where sometimes affordable deals can still be found. However, I think you might find this exercise frustrating if you live in a relatively sparsely populated area. Ironically, one of the best ways to get slide rules today is on the Internet. My online links page lists many websites with slide rules for selling or trading. The range of offerings varies from location to location, but in my experience, they all offer excellent service to their customers. I am probably asked this question more than any other. There are only a few places that still make slide rule type devices today, as shown below. When it comes to finding the classic calculation rules on my different pages, you might be surprised at the number of paths available to you. There are also a number of inexpensive plastic or cardboard sliding devices reminiscent of slide rules. These are commonly referred to as perrygraphs (named after one of the leading manufacturers in the field) or more simply as slide charts. These can often be ordered individually and printed in bulk for specific applications. Visit Sphere Research`s Perrygraph page for more information, including contact information for some of the largest companies.

Finally, for the do-it-yourself quantity, you can create your own slide rule in different ways. The easiest way would be to cut out good old graph paper to make basic C/D scales. You can also create newspaper scales with a computer program or scan or photocopy an existing slide rule and print it on high-quality paper to give you the balance. Either way, you do it, the prints could then be cut and reassembled into a slide rule-like device. To make your life easier, there are a number of downloadable slide rule files available online on many larger slide rule websites (see my online links page for some leads). I don`t have any specific links at the moment, but it shouldn`t take too long for you to find one. However, if you`re willing to put in a little more time and effort, I think you`ll find one of the best places to get high-quality used slide rules at a reasonable price is the online auction site eBay. Every week, they usually have several hundred slide rules at auction! Smaller auction sites such as Yahoo or Amazon may also carry slide rules, but often with higher starting bids. Mind you, most rules still go too far on eBay (in my opinion), but sometimes you can get good deals on it if you`re careful. However, you might want to visit the HP Museum for their thoughtful list of eBay alerts. The manual flight computers used by pilots are true circular slide rules. Plus, they`re cool on their own.

As far as I know, it`s pretty much the only company that still creates new slide rules. Given the craftsmanship that went into the production of slide rules and its widespread use until about 25 years ago, it is not too difficult today to find used slide rules in excellent condition. In fact, sometimes you can always pick up unused slide rules with their original documentation and accessories (I don`t know if I`d call them “new” exactly). The rapid decline in the use of slide rules caught many manufacturers off guard, and many late model rules were produced and never sold. These still appear occasionally, but they often charge higher prices than the high-quality rules. I have my advice for bargain slider hunters from Concise: Find out what eBay has to offer and familiarize yourself with what different makes and models usually do. A great help in this regard is Ron Manley`s slide rules website, where he tracks eBay monthly prices for the most popular and common rules. Ron also has excellent data on the best time to sell or buy, based on historical trends. Once you`ve decided what kind of rule you want (and how many extras you want), make a reasonable offer and see what happens. If nothing else, I think you will find the whole tendering process a shout.

Another example of a simple slide rule would be the E6-B flight computer. This simple and elegant device, used by pilots for various flight calculations, is manufactured by different companies (e.g. Jeppesen, ASA) and can also perform basic multiplications and divisions on the circular slide rule part. These come in a variety of materials and sizes (I would recommend aluminum materials) and can be picked up inexpensively at any of the online pilot equipment stores such as pilotportal, pilot shop, sportys, etc. You can check out a cheap cardboard model in my collection on my combined slide rule page. Alternatively, you can pick up one of the Breitling Navitimer or Citizen Navihawk watches to do the same, but these will likely cost you a small fortune in comparison. As I mentioned at the top of this page, some types of slide rules are still in production today.