7 ft. Slide Rule



#22

My brother is going to give me the 7 ft. Pickett slide rule, but it would cost over $100 to ship it to me. Do you think it's worth the $100 plus?


#23

YES.

#24

Where is it being shipped from and to?

Maybe your brother should come to visit you and bring it along as baggage!


#25

My brother is in Austin, TX and I am in Aurora, IL. I plan to visit him next month but I don't think they let me bring such a big thing on the plane.


#26

As long as you let them inspect it, detect it, correct it, and of course pphotograph it and summarize it on the back with circles and arrows and a paragraph or two, then I'm sure they'll let you carry it on the plane (in baggage). :-)

#27

Quote:
My brother is in Austin, TX and I am in Aurora, IL. I plan to visit him next month but I don't think they let me bring such a big thing on the plane.

Just take a pair of skis with you and pack it in with them on the way back. :-)
#28

People take bicycles and skis (as Bruce noted) and bags of golf clubs on planes everyday. These are all comparable in size to your slide rule!

I think they won't bat an eyelash if you check it as baggage. Just make sure they get to see it first!

#29

My high school physics teacher had one of those hanging above the chalkboard. It was fun!

He also gave me a slide rule when I asked for one--my HP had fallen and broken the display.

And he had a watch with radium dial paint. We would play with the Geiger counter and it would go crazy when we went near the briefcase with the watch in it.

So, the real choice is:

what would you rather have on the wall:

a. 7' pickett slied rule,

-or-

b. 1975 HP 35(?) poster, framed

-or-

c. A Monet painting


#30

Quote:
And he had a watch with radium dial paint. We would play with the Geiger counter and it would go crazy when we went near the briefcase with the watch in it.

I still wear a 1981 Seiko "Duodisplay" (analog with digital window above), with which I remain delighted. It has that impeccable package of quality, no-nonsense style and ample practical functionality that is missing in today's offerings -- much like our favored HP calc's of the same era!

(Following paragraphs edited for clarification after response:)

One of my only two minor complaints about the watch is that the white paint that highlights the hour "hash marks" and hands for hour and minute is non-luminescent. (BTW, the digital display is not backlit.)

I'd thought that a radium-containing paint would have solved that problem. Maybe the (strongly?) radioactive paint wasn't such a good idea, after all...

-- KS


Edited: 16 June 2006, 10:48 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#31

In 1981 your watch, if luminous, probably used a paint made of tritium and phosphorous. The tritium excites the phosphorus and glows all the time - no "charging" required.

Sadly in the late '90s tritium went away, largely because of misguided fear of its radioactivity and now you can't get tritium paint at any cost even though it is flat out superior.

Now all watches use a politically correct formula from Japan, SuperLuminova. It is crap. Besides having to pay the Japanese for it (no fee for the old tritium solution), it has to be charged be exposure to an external light source and then it glows for hours at best. None of them look good after a day in the dark. The old tritium glowed bright and constant. After 12 years (the half life of tritium) it only glowed half as bright, but that's way better than SuperLuminova.

My 1985 Rolex Submariner is getting kind of dim these days and it annoys me to no end I cannot get it relumed with a tritium formula.


#32

Say what?

Tritium watches are most assuredly still available. Luminox makes them. I have two. Tritium is also used in compasses and gun sights, both readily available to civilians.

However, the earlier poster mentioned using a Geiger counter. That would be a radium watch. Tritium only emits beta particles, which won't penetrate human skin, much less the glass of the mounted microbottles which holds the tritium/phosphorus mix (it's not paint). A tritium watch won't register on a Geiger counter (and to prove it, I have both watch and Geiger counter).

Radium, on the other hand, is a powerful alpha, beta, and gamma emitter. Mixed with beryllium, it also produces neutrons. It generates heat and has a blue luminescence of its own. It's chemically similar to calcium and will replace calcium in your bones. Last but not least, radon gas is one of its decay products.

Put another way, radium is not stuff that you want in your system. If you encounter an old watch (or gauge -- they were commonly used in aircraft instruments) with radium illumination your best course of action is to call the hazmat people to dispose of it. An intact radium watch is probably not particularly harmful (the glass and the metal in the watch provide some shielding) if worn occasionally, but many of these old watches and especially old gauges are not intact.

People have bought pallets of surplus military equipment sight-unseen in warehouses, opened them up to find aircraft gauges, and thought wow, what a find. That is, until after handling and sorting them, they started noticing that they were getting sunburnt even though they were inside...Uh-oh...turn off the lights...UH-OH!!

Radiation burns are no fun at all; nor is worrying about the long-term consequences of having had one. The guys that this happened to did recover, by the way.

I had that reaction myself when I bought some MiG aircraft instruments and saw them glowing when I turned off the lights that night. Quick panic, grab the Geiger counter, nothing registering,...hmm, the glow is dimming...OK, it's just phosphorus dials, nothing radioactive...WHEW!

#33

Hi Karl,

Quote:
I'd thought that a radium-containing paint would have solved that problem. Maybe the (strongly?) radioactive paint wasn't such a good idea, after all...


Definetly not a good idea. There's been many articles about the people who painted the dials. See following links:

RADIUM DIAL PAINTERS - What Happened to Them?

The Radium Girls

I seem to remember that they originally tried radium in a lot of products - false teeth, "Glowing" makeup.

Reminds me a little of Mercury. In High School, we would coat metal objects with mercury to make them shinny - coins were favorite items to coat. We also roll the mercury around, I don't remember any percautions being taken in the school science labs by the instructors.

Last year, my brother-in-law was preparing an estate for auction and ran across a very small container that was very heavy for it's size. It was a can of mercury. The auction got delayed while the environmental people went over the house and land. Forturnately, the single can was all that was found and he was able to auction the property off.

Bill


#34

Bill --

Great links about radium! I'd known of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, and had heard of radium-based paint, but not about the tritium/phosporous paint described earlier in the thread. (Tritium, if I remember correctly, is an isotope of hydrogen with two neutrons in addition to its proton. Deuterium is another isotope with one proton and one neutron. Both are contained in "heavy water".)

Ya learn somethin' every day...

So, I wonder why my 1981 wristwatch didn't have tritium/phosporous paint on the hands and hour marks?

Quote:
Reminds me a little of Mercury. In High School, we would coat metal objects with mercury to make them shinny - coins were favorite items to coat. We also roll the mercury around, I don't remember any percautions being taken in the school science labs by the instructors.

I did a short report about mercury for an assignment during my first term in college. One statistic I remember from my limited research was that 80% of the mercury inhaled as vapors was absorbed by the body, but the rate of absorption by, for example, skin contact with liquid mercury was considerably lower. Mercury vapors were responsible for the "mad hatters" of the 19th century, who used it to give shape and stiffness to formed hats.

It's good that we treat substances such as radium, mercury, and asbestos with more respect than we did in the "unenlightened days", but I often wonder if today's responses aren't irrationally excessive. Broken oral thermometer? Call in the HazMat team! Asbestos wrap on the old pipes? Close down the school and tear it all out! -- thereby stirring it up in the process.

-- KS

Edited: 18 June 2006, 4:38 p.m.


#35

Quote:
So, I wonder why my 1981 wristwatch didn't have tritium/phosporous paint on the hands and hour marks?

It may well have and has just now grown dim. My 1985 is only visible any more in complete darkness after my eyes have adjusted.

#36

Interesting link...and see the link in the link, too, "mercurialism"

http://www.hgtech.com/Information/Mad%20Hatter.htm

#37

Sure, go for it. There was a huge 7 footer in our Chemistry class in early 70's. In those years we had a 1 unit Slide rule class concurrent with the 5 unit Chemistry class. I have several. Of course my favorite is my Pickett Circular slide rule. Much easier to use.

Regards,

Andy

#38

A 4-foot Pickett (in the original box) recently went for $380.00 on eBay. A (nearly) 6-foot Thornton (with some wear) went for $165.37. And those prices don't include shipping. So I'd say your brother's rule is worth it.

#39

It seems to me that it depends on the actual slide rule. As several people have mentioned, there were demonstration slide rules for classroom use that were seven feet long, but I doubt that the accuracy was any better than a ten-inch rule. I personally had one of these in my classroom (as a curiosity) when I was teaching college physics.

However, if the seven foot rule actually has precision reflecting its length, I'd say it is something special. But if it's just a classroom display rule, skip it.

FWIW...

Larry


#40

The 7 and 8 ft rules are indeed as accurate as a 10" rule. Else they wouldn't have been used to teach slide rule classes.


#41

It's not a precision rule. Functionality wise it's no better than a typical 10 inch rule. Definitely not as good as my Faber Castell 2/83 I got from my sister.


#42

My point was that the rule is used for teaching slide rule use.
Not to say it was more accurate than a 10 in. rule.


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