a lifetime burning

By Sheol

Invaluable Tool

Mono Monday: Invaluable Tool

Picture Mull has set quite an open challenge for Mono Monday: referring us to a previous blip from her journal she has asked us to "follow on" in whatever way we wish.  Inevitably the sheer openness of the challenge brings the problem of trying to whittle down the possible ideas into a single shot.  I was tempted to go with the footwear thing for a while.  My current footwear most days is walking boots, and these could easily have been contrasted with the shoes I wore to work before I retired.  But instead I've gone for the historical reverie angle.

This is Dad's slide rule, which I think he would have bought in the 1950s when he was training to become an engineer.  Growing up Dad made it very clear to me from an early age, that I was not allowed to play with the slide rule.  It was an important tool for work and it was not to be damaged.  To be honest, having had a quick look at it, I was more than happy to leave it and its unfathomable workings alone.... although I liked the way you could push out the middle part to poke something with...

When I first went to secondary school in 1971 people still used slide rules. There was some suggestion from the physics teacher one year that a slide rule might be a useful Christmas present - but I made very sure not to mention that at home! But 1972 saw the introduction of the first Sinclair pocket calculator. Initially very rare, within just a couple of years pocket calculators were everywhere and slide rules were destined to become a footnote in the history books.  Nowadays of course, pocket calculators are becoming rarer as people just use the app on their phone.

Dad ended up with a Texas Instruments Scientific Calculator and the slide rule was put at the back of a cupboard where it remained ever since.  I'm currently looking after it for my brother, who is also an engineer and will no doubt find something useful to do with it.  I'm not an engineer so can only hazard a guess at what that might be, but scratching those hard to reach parts of one's back comes to mind.

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