Jay's Slide Rules

WEB site of a collector of slide rules & antique mechanical calculators.

About 1989 I decided that I wanted to get into the hobby of collecting.   Collecting something.   I just wasn't sure what.   I did establish a list of requirements before I got started.

1.) I knew that I wanted to keep the items relatively small.   The item needs to be easy to store and display.   That ruled out engine blocks and steam driven tractors.

2.) It had to be something that was not made any more.  It did not want to get into something where they keep making new ones.  This would get you to buy the latest in order to keep current.  I did not want to collect stamps because they keep printing more of them.  Coins were out too.  Granted I could have gone after the older or specific coins. But no thank you.   I decided against coins.

3.) It had to be an item that I knew something about.   This steered me toward a technical type item.

4.) The item had to still be available.  I had to be able to find or buy them.   No sense trying to collect something if you can't find them.

5.) They had to be affordable.

So why did I choose to collect Slide Rules?

The Saga Continues

So one day in 1989 I was meandering through a flea market when I came upon a dealer that had a K&E 4181 sitting on their table.  Click! the light went on in my head.   That's what I will collect!  Each of the 5 criteria were reviewed in my head to see if slide rules would meet them:

  • Small?   Of course they are small and will be easy to store and display.  (Except for the 4 foot and 7 foot class room slide rules.)
  • Still made?   No I thought, of course they're not made anymore.  (Essentially that's true.)
  • Know about them? Of course I know about them.   I used them while working on my BS in Electrical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin in the late 60s and early 70s.  (And I thought to myself 'I even know how to use one'.   At least the basic scales.)
  • Available?  Well, I have one right here in my hand.  And they are bound to more at garage sales, estate sales.
  • Affordable?   Of course.   This dealer had a price of $10 on it.
So 10 seconds later I bought it and my addiction, I mean collection, started.  Except for the two slide rules I used in school, this K&E 4181-3 was the first slide rule to become a member of my collection.

The collecting starts

So now the collecting has started

After deciding on collecting slide rules, I had to determine where to find them.   So I started to hit the flea markets around the area.  I would get the strangest looks from people when I would ask if they had any slide rules.  "...collecting slide rules????"   Of course, some people did not even know what they are.

At first I thought I was the only one on the planet collecting slide rules.  The first ones I found at flea markets, antique malls, and on the CompuServe Hobby Forum.   As time went on, I heard of the existence of other collectors.  The clerks and dealers at some antique malls would say: "Oh, there was a guy in here just last week asking about slide rules."

  After a few years I found out about the Oughtred Society, local and regional scientific technology shows, The International Slide Rule Group on Yahoo, and of course there is eBay and other online auction sites.   Also other slide rule collectors have WEB sites.

Now here I am 25+ years and 20 some storage boxes later!    :)

But now it is time to retire and 'down size'. Because of the space that all these slide rules and calculators require, these were one of the first to go.  
Therefore I am in the process of selling my collection of slide rules and slide rule related items.  

Check out the items I have for sale on eBay

Remember:  The fun is in the hunt!

One thing I have observed while searching for slide rules, people will collect anything.
This observation resulted in me coining the phrase:

" If there is anything to collect, somebody will collect it. "

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