Pickett 160, Plastic Slide Rule

UIL Slide Rule Resources

Janis Joplin, Slide Rule Club photo, TJ High School, Port Arthur, Texas, 1959.
Janis Joplin, Slide Rule Club photo, TJ High School, Port Arthur, Texas, 1959.

I was fortunate to be in Ramiro Sanchez’s Math Club at North Mesquite High School. The Slide rule contests that had been a part of UIL competition since at least the 1960s 1944, ended in 1980.

For historical record, the UIL Academic results from 1944 to 1979. This data was pulled from the Internet Archive Project at archive.org (I was #12 in 1975 State Slide Rule).The “Texas Speed Rule” was designed for the UIL contests and the Texas educational market. It was distributed by Ridgway, a school supply firm. They rarely come up on eBay, and prices are high. Mine is not for sale.

When I graduated in 1975, our geometry teacher let me keep my Pickett 905-ES “A” Texas Speed Rule. I think she could see the writing on the wall. The pocket calculator had been out for a while, and it’s cost was coming down. My dad bought me a TI SR-50 for graduation to take to college. It must’ve cost him $75 – still quite a bit of money in 1975.

Let’s begin with the original, UIL Beginners Slide Rule Manual, which explains slide rule basics for beginners. It won’t include Log-Log scales. In addition, the contest rules regarding the ‘method of presentation’ of answers are given:

Later, at Texas Tech, I’d wandered by the off-campus bookstore and saw in the display window, the elegant K+E Log-Log Decitrig in it’s beautiful orange-red calf-skin case. I couldn’t afford it on my student budget… it was all of about $40. In another year, I’d be gone to North Texas State (now UNT), and slide rules would longer be found in campus bookstores.

I finally snagged one of these beautiful K+E’s at a slide rule swap meet.

Slide Rule Tests

Next, one of the full slide rule tests, provided here with an answer sheet at the end:

Tie Breakers -which are just what they say they are – if a UIL slide rule contest came up with 2 or more ‘winners’, with exactly the same score, then a Tie Breaker like one of these would determine the winner. These are provided with an answer sheet at the end.

Finally, we come to “Special Tests”, nothing of which is known about how they were used – possibly for practice or demonstration? These are included here with an answer sheet at the end.

Have fun!

Number Sense Tests

By the way, while we were stripping our fingers out on our Pickett Texas Speed Rules, tapping out the exponent counts with our feet, our compadres in Number Sense were working on some of these. These are originally from the (now defunct) http://texasmath.org website; I’ve cross-posted here in hopes of saving them some bandwidth and also because I like to run a few of these myself once in a while (for mental exercise).

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