Saturday, May 11, 2013

Round and Round the wheel goes.....

......and where it stops, nobody knows. So went the introduction to
 an old-time game show on radio (remember when?) and later on television. It seems to me that it involved a popular band and led to a phone call to some lucky person who would (if they answered) win the monstrous fortune of ten or fifty or so silver dollars. Wheel of Fortune it wasn't but it was a different time and age.
But the wheel in the picture was from another time as well.On the surface it might look like something a World War II pilot or aircraft navigator might use. It's not that - but it came out of the Korean Conflict era and was my treasure at the time. It's a circular slide  rule.
However, it  was a 'no-no' in college math classes in the late 1960's - I know because I tried to use it and the professor glared at me and said I needed to use a straight 'slip-stick' or none at all. This, of course was before the day of the hand-held calculator which was verboten as well. With the professorial admonition tattooed to my brain I managed to fail the course.
How things have changed. The old circular slide rule, with so many ways to calculate basic math and trig functions has been relegated to a memory  in my antique dresser. For some reason, it worked like magic for me and I could never get the same accuracy out of even the best straight slide rule. I finally graduated to  a basic calculator, and as they graduated to more and more capabilities I got used to them - up to a point. I'll leave the fancy engineering calculators to someone more inclined to someone who is into higher mathematics. I'm still happy with my 1970's basic unit.
Meanwhile, the old circular slide rule remains in the memory drawer. Like a lot of things, it has become the subject of children's sermons and show-and-tell sessions. The kids who see it say that it sure looks old - but then, again, so do I.

No comments:

Post a Comment