I was immediately impressed with its quality of craftsmanship and ‘feel’. In need of a direction in this new interest, I found out a little more about Faber-Castell’s slide rules and their history, and decided to focus on them as a manufacturer. Other fairly significant reasons for concentrating on Fabers were the relative wealth of information on them, particularly in regard to dating them, and their prevalence and hence affordability. Faber-Castell as AW Faber made slide rules from around the start of the slide rule mass production era, and their rules are generally regarded as amoungst the highest quality. As I am interested in ‘old things’ and their developement, I narrowed my focus on Fabers to from their earliest models in the ‘s, through their model range explosion, up to when they first changed their model numbering system around – their formative years. After this came the Second World War and a rationalisation their range.
1920s Vintage A W Faber Castell Slide Rule In Case – D.R.P No206428 1920’s
In reply to this post by Vitaliy Vitaliy wrote: I just gave a bunch of old personal computer memorabilia to a couple computer museums. A PDP11 that hadn’t been powered up in maybe 20 years. Plus about Bankers boxes of research notes and tradeshow literature dating back to the original PC
A brief history of the slide rules. The first Faber-Castell slide rule was produced in But the history of this useful tool is years older than that. At first it was purely for adding and subtracting; more complicated calculations later became possible. The invention of the pocket calculator in spelled the end of the slide rule.
Unique Slide Rule Company Dating a slide rule becomes difficult if a manufacturer did not imprinting a date code or serial number on the stock. Even then, some manufacturers recycled their serial numbers over time, and the stock could have been left on a shelf for a period of time before the slide rule was assembled and shipped. Catalogs are an excellent indication of when a model was produced or discontinued. Sometimes the copyright date in a manual is used to determine the approximate age, but one printing could span several decades.
Dates that a design was registered or patented only suggests an approximate year a model may have been first produced, as the model may have been distributed a year or more before issuance patent pending. The patent may only refer to a certain combination of scales used over a thirty year time on different models. Having contact with the original owner of a slide rule that remembers the year it was purchased helps on determining the age.
Other Slide Rule dates are currently in development.
Faber-Castell slide rules were made mainly in Germany plus Switzerland and Austria , and are some of the most elegant and well designed slide rules ever produced. Very early wood body rules rules have 3-digit numbers like ‘ ‘. Later, their rules were organized around specific scale groups Darmstadt, Rietz, Commerz, Duplex, Novo-duplex, Mathema, etc. As with other makers, the inevitable ‘N’ crept in to part numbers at the end to indicate ‘New’ versions of rules, which were often quite different visually than the originals.
There were also several different types of cursors used by Faber Castell, and some rules were also made as large classroom demonstration rules.
A. W. Faber-Castell slide rules were made mainly in Germany (plus Switzerland and Austria), and are some of the most elegant and well designed slide rules ever produced. Very early wood body rules rules have 3-digit numbers like ”.
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“When in Doubt, Don’t Throw It Out!”:
Stumbled on this looking for something completely unrelated: I have a few slide rules including a nice small Pickett N ES, the model chosen for the Apollo missions. A are real antiques if not classics. Mine is standard c which was marketed as a ‘beginners rule’; I used mine in middle school and early high school. In the following pic I have ‘reversed’ the slide to expose the trig scales. Bureau of Standards Circular no.
All slide rules with a 3-digit type number starting with a 3 (like or ) were manufactured before All slide rules with a mixed type number (like e.g. 1/60/) were manufactured around , when Faber-Castell changed from the old 3-digit number .
Sun Hemmi Slide Rules Hemmi was the largest manufacturer of slide rules, and is estimated to have sold some 15 million rules over its lifetime. These were sold under their own name Sun as well as redistributed for a large number of other companies, most notably the Frederick Post Co. Reflecting their Japanese origin, these rules were often made of bamboo with celluloid facings, which worked out very well since bamboo is naturally self-lubricating and withstands changes in temperature and humidity better than other types of wood.
Hemmi also made a number of plastic rules, which were generally of very high quality and compared well to other manufacturers. Given their extensive range of products, it is not surprising to see a number of specialized rules out there as well. Interestingly, Hemmi still exists today, but makes only hydraulic and related engineering components. According to Paul Ross and Ted Hume’s research project , by these rules reappeared with the label “Made in Occupied Japan” which was eventually dropped to “Made in Japan” around Also around this time, they started engraving 2-letter date codes on all their rules representing the year and month they were made.
The first letter corresponds to the year starting with B for and ending with Z in The second letter corresponds to the month, with A for January, B for February, etc.
Clear Plastic Overlay Circular Slide Rule Scales in Contact Either two pairs of scales, on a one-sided rule, or four pairs of scales, on a two-sided rule, slide against each other. Either one pair of scales, on a one-sided rule, or two pairs of scales, on a two-sided rule, slide against each other. Because the separation between the two cursors can be taken from any scale, and applied to any other, this slide rule acts as if any scale on the rule is sliding against any other scale.
If one set of scales is printed on a clear plastic overlay, instead of on a rotating disk within the rule itself, the number of scales that can be in contact with a scale on the body of the rule is arbitrary.
Faber Castell Slide Rules Faber Castell rules were manufactured predominantly in Germany, and they were clearly the dominant European slide rule maker. Faber rules are considered by many slide rule enthusiasts as among the best ever made.
Faber Castell Slide Rules Faber Castell rules were manufactured predominantly in Germany, and they were clearly the dominant European slide rule maker. Faber rules are considered by many slide rule enthusiasts as among the best ever made. They sold a wide range of models, with many of their early offerings made of Swiss pearwood or boxwood with celluloid facings.
Later rules were made out of Geroplast their name for plastic and featured some of the most useful and advanced features ever seen on slide rules. Always the innovator, Faber was often copied but rarely duplicated by other manufacturers. Many of their rules have survived very well to this day, and remain among the most sought after by collectors. It is also a “self-documenting” rule, as each scale has an example on the far right of what the scale represents and how to use it.
You might want to compare this rule to the high end Aristo and Nestler offerings in my collection. The unmarked case is made of high quality leather with a dark brown finish similar to my Nestler rules, only much sturdier in this case most Faber rules come in plastic clam-shell type display cases. Also included with the rule was a fairly typical single-sided plastic “cheat sheet” of common formulas and conversions, shown in first high resolution scan.
I’ve also included links to scans of the appropriate catalog pages for this model rule, stored at Sphere Research Corp’s Slide Rule Universe. Although I don’t have the manual for this rule, I think the outstanding features of this model speak for themselves.
Dating faber slide rules
But duplex slide rules, on the other hand, seem to come in a wide assortment of types. However, many duplex slide rules have an arrangement that at least tends towards something like this: On the back, each half of the stationary part of the rule has five scales, while on the front, the halves have two or three scales. And, on the other hand, the slide has five scales on it in the back, and six in the front. Why is the arrangement shown above a desirable goal?
The trig scales are on the slider.
Introduction As is well known, Faber-Castell began to date-stamp their slide rules in about Dating the rules they manufac-tured before that time can be problematical, especially as the.
A brief history of the slide rules The first Faber-Castell slide rule was produced in But the history of this useful tool is years older than that. At first it was purely for adding and subtracting; more complicated calculations later became possible. The invention of the pocket calculator in spelled the end of the slide rule. For centuries it had made calculations easier for countless mathematicians, physicists, engineers, and other occupations.
The page reproduced from the company catalogue price list shows examples of rulers and straight-edges and also the two oldest models of slide rule: Both models are only partly depicted, the left-hand half of No. The years around the Great War A later catalogue, dated , offered a wide range of nearly a hundred different rulers, set squares and T squares made of wood, and then 20 models of slide rule of high quality and precision, made of pear wood ideally suited to the task with celluloid scales.
The favourable development since the early days was sadly interrupted by the Great War. Slide rules were still unfamiliar to most people and used only by a limited circle of engineers and technicians, rarely by businessmen. It was therefore not possible to introduce rationalized mass production.
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As far as I know there were no American manufacturers of bamboo slide rules. All the ones sold by American companies were imported from overseas. Frederick Post was the most notable of these and their Versalog is highly-regarded.
August – 1 – Overview of A.W. Faber-Castell Slide Rule Dating Chronology Colin Tombeur Background This article is one of a series which details the early slide rules of A.W. Faber-Castell (hereafter referred to as.
When I was in high school I always had a slide rule. I think my sophomore year I took slide rule as a required subject. Every guy in school – it was Catholic military high school so they were all guys – had a Pickett slide rule, except me. I preferred a circular slide rule and would use no other. I can’t remember just why. But in college and grad school when I took statistics the first time we used the electrical-mechanical Monroe Calculator.
We were all herded one day in to the Calculator Room – a whole classroom dedicated to undergraduate students for their one day a semester when they could touch the machines. The high point of first year stat was when they got to go into the Calculator room and calculate a single standard deviation. By grad school had a personal electronic calculator – a Bomar Brain I think.
I bought a new model as more features became available. I had at least six or seven different brands. In grad school I was a TA.