Friday, May 6, 2016

A most unexpected find...

A most unexpected find...  Longtime readers with unusual patience will know that I have a substantial collection of slide rules and other antique mechanical computing instruments.  Once, years ago, I wrote of my regret for not having kept the slide rules I purchased new, when they were still in use (that's BC – Before Calculators).  The first one I bought in high school; the last one while in the U.S. Navy in about 1972 or 1973 – right at the end of the slide rule era.

For years my dad would occasionally send me a box of stuff – very random stuff, including photos, letters, notes, and mementos of various kinds.  The first of these boxes arrived in the early '90s, then intermittently over the next 15 years or so.  Usually my dad would call me to talk about the potential contents of the boxes; he wanted to be sure I'd be interested in them.  Nearly all of these boxes, along with their contents, I taped back up and stored after receiving them – simply because in previous homes we had no room to display the items.

Well, that's a tad different now that we have a house that seems big enough to house the entire state of Utah, with room left over for some Idahoans.  Also different, much more recently: I now have a 600 sq. ft. office, with lots of room.  As I was moving into my new office, I had occasion for the first time in many years to open and look into those boxes my dad had sent me over the years.  In one of those boxes, which dates back to the mid-90s, I found the four slide rules I had purchased as a youth.  I know for sure that they're mine, because the cases have my name, phone numbers, etc.  My dad must have had them squirreled away somewhere, together with a few other youthful possessions of mine, and sent them in that box.  I had opened that box, probably when I received it, then taped it up and left it unopened ever since.

How could I not know I had those slide rules? 

Most likely it was because I didn't start collecting slide rules until about 2002 – which would have been about 8 years after my dad sent that box.  Those slide rules, in the '90s, apparently did not make a big impression on me.  I have no memory of having received them.  I was totally shocked when I opened that box and saw them a few days ago!

All of those slide rules were common, ordinary types; none of them have any particular value.  They're all in great shape, even though I used them every day for years – I took good care of them.  They aren't valuable, but they were mine, and that counts for something in my book :)

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