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28 American Slide Rule for the Oil Industry

image of American Slide Rule for the Oil Industry

This rare slide rule was used in calculations involving the pumping of oil, which was measured in thousands of barrels per day. It is stamped on the face ‘COPYRIGHTED 1889 COMPUTED BY FORREST M. TOWL. C.E.’ and on the edge by the maker ‘KERBY & BRO. N.Y.’ At this period, oil was mainly used for lighting, since the motorcar, which was invented in 1885 by Karl Benz (1844-1929), was not commercially available until 1888.

Forrest M. Towl (fl.1886-1934) graduated from Cornell University in 1886 and in 1911 was a consulting engineer for the Standard Oil Company (later to be called Exxon and Esso). He clearly moved in the best circles, as in 1909 he was a member of the Shelter Island Yacht Club, New York, one of the oldest in America. He was Director of the Cumberland Pipe Line Company (1917), President of the Southern Pipe Line Company (1921) and was still writing on oil industry matters in 1934.

Collection: Peter Delehar, London

See: New York Times, 13 June 1909
Cornell Alumni News, Vol.XII. No.38, June 28, 1911, p.451.
New York Times, 8 December 1917
New York Times, 2 September 1921
The Pipe Line Flow Factor, Brooklyn 1934.

Objects lent by Peter Delehar, London:

08. Circular Slide Rule on a Snuff Box, by Hoyau, Paris, 1816

11. Reversible Circular Slide Rule, English, c.1840

25. Slide Rules - a Selection of the Original Pocket Calculators

26. Javal's Ophthalmic Slide Rule, by A. Cretes, Paris, c. 1875

27. Triangular Slide Rule with Four Sliders, by Elliott, London, c. 1870

29. Master Rule and Gauging Slide Rule, by Dring & Fage, London, 19th Century

30. Anderson Celluloid Gridiron Slide Rule, by Casella & Co, London, c. 1903

31. Slide Rule in a Drawing Scale, by J. Casartelli, Manchester, c. 1870

32. Circular Slide Rule, by Joseph Lamb, London, c. 1827

33. Roubicek Circular Slide Rule for Surveying, by Neuhöfer & Sohn, Vienna, c. 1870

34. Annular Slide Rule, by Elliott Brothers, London, c. 1875

36. Box Sextant with Integral Slide Rule, by Troughton & Simms, London, c. 1870

41. 2ft Gunter Rule, owned by Thomas Annand, English, 1683

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