It is a “Proof” slide rule for the calculation of percentage proof and is one of two types of slide rule for use with the Sikes hydrometer.
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Founded in 1880 at 109 Deansgate, Manchester by Alexander George Thornton, the firm grew to become one of the largest manufacturers of drawing instruments and slide rules in Britain.
The Precision Instrument Co was taken over in 1901 and PIC continued to be used by Thornton as a trade mark until about 1970.
Thornton 6039½ mahogany and celluloid, ten inch, closed frame slide rule complete with case which has a wooden inner sleeve and card outer covered with imitation fish skin. The rule has a list of Thornton slide rules and details of two slide rule books on the reverse. Thornton PIC Junior closed frame slide rule made of plastic faced mahogany with a metal and celluloid cursor. Thornton PIC New Electrical and Mechanical Engineer’s Rule. I have another similar 101 dated 1935 with a PC6A cursor. Made in 1943, the 3 line cursor is a later replacement of the PC8 type. Mahogany and celluloid closed frame slide rule with two metal framed cursors and trig formulae on the reverse. It was normal for British artillery slide rules to have two cursors. Thornton PIC No F3654 / PC8 closed frame slide rule made of plastic faced mahogany with a metal and glass cursor. There are inch and centimetre rules on the top and bottom edges. Date code ‘11.61’Heath & Co Hezzanith Navigation slide rule (made by A G Thornton in 1948). Originally the property of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (stamped on the reverse of the slide). F and RC are Thornton names for the K and C1 scales. 111 above Thornton PIC No 132 20” closed frame slide rule of the usual wood & celluloid construction.
In the well there is “DRGM 164885” which is Nestler’s registered design for nickel-silver screws holding on the celluloid facings so the rule was presumably made for Thornton by Nestler. 10” celluloid faced mahogany slide rule dated 1931 in a green cloth covered, card box. Thornton PIC No 131 engineer’s slide rule, made of mahogany, faced with plastic. The scales are: LL2, LL3, AD, K//dynamo, volt (in well). Date code ‘C46’.closed frame slide rule made of plastic faced mahogany with a metal and glass cursor. It has a green cloth covered card case of the usual Thornton type for this period.. Thornton PIC No 101 ten inch celluloid faced mahogany slide rule with metal & glass cursor. The usual mahogany & celluloid construction but with an odd plastic cursor (possibly not original). It has the usual Thornton green cloth covered card case. Thornton PIC No 111/PC8 closed frame 10” mahogany & celluloid slide rule with metal & glass cursor. The tables on the reverse are the same as on the 101/PC8. F and RC are Thornton names for the K and C1 scales. It has a metal framed glass cursor with hinged magnifier and a green cloth covered card case and dates from the 1950s.
These may include Boxwood, Ivory (Bone), Brass and in many instances were hand-divided by an artisan.
Thanks to the members of the UK Slide Rule Circle, the Dutch KRING and the Oughtred Society for most of the scans provided in this gallery. Many of these images in the ISRM galleries, also appear in the Oughtred Society's Rarities Gallery, which displays rare, not necessarily old, specimens in collections of active members's of the Oughtred Society.
The diameter looks to be about 4 feet which gives a scale length of 150 inches, or 15 times the length of a standard slide rule.
The wheels and base appear to be made of cast iron.
This unique design which is wildly different than any of the designs that made it into broad production, was quickly made obsolete by other designs that were cheaper to make and had a higher resolution in the scales like the Billeter, Loga, Thacher, Fowler and many others. de la sociéte d.encouragement pour l.industrie nationale (Paris) 1864 - Zeitschr.
The rules on this page originally comprised two main categories.
The first was alcohol rules used for calculating the quantity in a cask and/or the excise duty payable.