Otis King's Pocket Calculator Model L Cylindrical Slide Rule
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- Carbic Limited
- This six-inch cylindrical slide rule consists of a chromium-plated holder, a metal cylinder that slides into the holder, and a black metal tube that fits around and slides up and down on the cylinder. The rule is ten inches long when extended and equivalent to a linear slide rule 66 feet in length. Two short white lines on the tube and a black mark on the chrome cap at the end of the cylinder serve as the indicator. A paper spiral logarithmic scale is attached to the top half of the holder. A second, linear and logarithmic, paper scale is attached to the cylinder. The logarithmic scales are used to multiply and divide, and the linear scale is used to find logarithms.
- The end of the cylinder is engraved: MADE IN (/) ENGLAND. At the top of the cylinder is printed: PATENT No 183723. At the bottom of the cylinder is printed: OTIS KING'S POCKET CALCULATOR; SCALE No 430. The top of the scale on the holder is printed: SCALE No 429; COPYRIGHT. The bottom is printed: OTIS KING'S PATENT No 183723. The end of the holder is machine engraved: T/0503. Engraved by hand (and upside-down to the serial number) is: C73.
- The instrument is stored in a rectangular black cardboard box. A label on one end reads: Otis King's (/) Calculator (/) Model "L" (/) No. T0503. The slide rule arrived with instructions, 1987.0788.06, and an advertising flyer, 1987.0788.07. See also 1989.3049.02 and 1981.0922.09.
- Otis Carter Formby King (b. 1876) of Coventry, England, received a British patent (183,723) for this instrument on August 31, 1922, and in 1923 he received patents 207,762 and 207,856 for improvements to the slide rule. From London, King filed a U.S. patent application, which he assigned to Carbic Limited, the London manufacturer of the slide rule, when that patent was granted in 1927. With co-inventor Bruce Hamer Leeson, King received U.S. Patent 1,820,354 for an "electrical remote control system" on August 25, 1931.
- The serial number indicates that this example of Otis King's calculator was manufactured around 1960 to 1962. Howard Irving Chapelle (1901–1975), a naval architect, maritime historian, and curator of what was then the National Museum of History and Technology, donated it to the Smithsonian around 1969 to 1970.
- References: Peter M. Hopp, Slide Rules: Their History, Models, and Makers (Mendham, N.J.: Astragal Press, 1999), 274, 281; Otis Carter Formby King, "Calculating Apparatus," (U.S. Patent 1,645,009 issued October 11, 1927); Richard F. Lyon, "Dating of the Otis King: An Alternative Theory Developed Through Use of the Internet," Journal of the Oughtred Society 7, no. 1 (1998): 33–38; Dick Lyon, "Otis King's Patent Calculator," http://www.svpal.org/~dickel/OK/OtisKing.html.
- Currently not on view
- Credit Line
- Gift of Howard I. Chappelle
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Object Name
- slide rule
- Physical Description
- chromium (overall material)
- paper (part material)
- overall: 17 cm x 4 cm x 3.7 cm; 6 11/16 in x 1 9/16 in x 1 15/32 in
- place made
- United Kingdom: England, London
- See more items in
- Medicine and Science: Mathematics
- Science & Mathematics
- Slide Rules
- National Museum of American History
- Rule, Calculating
- Record ID
- Metadata Usage (text)
- GUID (Link to Original Record)
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