Students in drafting class with slide rule, UBC, 1940.

Photo Credit: University of British Columbia Archives, Leonard Cox, [UBC 72.1/64]

1960 - The Slide Rule

One of the most important tools of an engineer’s trade, the slide rule, reaches peak usage. This mechanical analog computing device was used primarily for multiplication and division, as well as exponents, roots, logarithms, and trigonometry.

It was not uncommon to see engineering students and engineers carrying ten-inch slide rules in belt holsters, or using a twenty-inch rule for precision work.

This tool was eventually made obsolete in the mid-1970s, with the introduction of the handheld electronic scientific calculator.