A new slide rule! I haven't purchased a slide rule for my collection in about five or six years, though I still have Google alerts out for a few particularly rare ones that I'd love to get my hands on. My entire collection (about 2,200 slide rules) is still in the boxes we packed them into when we moved to Utah from California; getting them displayed somehow is on my long list of things to do.
But ... a couple weeks ago I got an email from a fellow in England, who had somehow tracked me down. He had a slide rule that he thought was likely quite rare, and he thought I might be interested. Well, he was certainly right about that – because what he had was one of the solid brass (and quite heavy!) Japanese artillery slide rules used on Japanese battleships and large cruisers. My own research indicates that only a small number – probably just fourteen – of these things were ever made. I already had one, acquired by pure serendipity from an estate sale. I know the whereabouts of two others: one in a naval history museum in Washington, D.C., the other in a another collection. Now a fourth has popped up. The English fellow asked a perfectly reasonable price, so I agreed to buy it – and today it showed up. Here are a couple photos of it, as I received it:
This one is in better condition than the one I already had, especially it's hand-stitched leather case. On this one the cursor springs are still intact, and there are no significant scratches or dings in the brass. Only a navy would conceive the idea of making a slide rule from brass. Being an old sailor, of course the first thing I thought of was the poor enlisted guy who was tasked with keeping this thing perfectly polished! :) If you weren't in the Navy yourself, I'll let you know that the entire purpose of using brass in the Navy is the opportunity it creates for torturing a sailor with polishing work!