Posted by Mike Field on February 23, 2022 at 01:43:41 user mikefield.
In Reply to: Re: Reading Ransome in the War and Young Ladies' Calculators posted by Catherine Lamont on February 21, 2022 at 20:59:40:
Oh, we used log tables for engineering too -- 5-figure for general engineering work and 7-figure for land survey calculations. Slide rules were good, quick to use, and easy to carry, but they weren't terribly accurate unless very large. My cousin (a pathologist) had a large spiral one -- it looked like a short length of PVC drainage pipe, although that of course hadn't been invented at that time -- that was the equivalent of an ordinary slide rule several yards long, and hence very accurate.
I've kept my (1961 Chambers) 7-figure log tables because the book has quite a lot of navigation content too -- distance-off tables, sun's parallax, dip of the sea, and so on.
I've also kept three of my slide rules, all of which of course became museum pieces 50 years ago when electronic calculators came along -- my original single-sided one, a later double-sided one (both nominally 12" long,) and a 6" one that fitted handily in a shirt pocket. (I also had a 2" one as a tie-clip, but after first losing its cursor it then disappeared altogether itself.)
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