The Invention of the Slide Rule


I HAVE read with great interest the abstract of the paper on the invention of the slide rule, by Prof. F. Cajori, which appeared in NATURE of December 30, 1909. I agree with the author in thinking that the Rev. William Oughtred was the first to suggest that calculations could be made more accurately and rapidly by sliding the edges of logarithmic scales together than by using compasses—the method adopted by Gunter; but Oughtred had a poor opinion of this device, and rightly considered that his circular scale was a great improvement on it. A few years before 1671, Seth Partridge1 re-discovered the sliding principle, perfected it, and gave an almost complete specification for the slide rule which is used to-day by engineers.

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    "The Description and Use of an Instrument called the Double Scale of Proportion." (London, 1671.)

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RUSSELL, A. The Invention of the Slide Rule. Nature 82, 307–308 (1910).

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