A Report on the
2001 East Coast Oughtred Society Meeting.
November 10, 2001, at East Windsor, NJ.
by Jim Cerny - click to e-mail Jim


The 2001 East Coast Oughtred Society Meeting was held November 10th, in East Windsor, NJ, organized by Conrad Schure and Jerry Helck. I was fortunate to attend as a guest (one-time provision) of Michael O'Leary. What follows is my own unofficial report, with links to pictures I took of the attendees (I think I got everyone) and of the displays. I can't explain why I didn't capture more -- I had plenty of digital "film" -- and apologize for the unevenness. Please send me corrections for any errors of commission or omission that you see.
-- Jim.


There were 20 registered attendees, mostly Oughtred Society members, plus a few guests.

The materials brought for display and sale were outstanding. The most common rule in the room was Thachers, with five of them! Michael O'Leary used this as an opportunity to scan many of the unusual rules. In his own words:

I spent the entire meeting madly scanning everything I could get my hands on. I made 170 scans, total, of slide rules, manuals, catalogs, and about everything else. My mind is still numb. Not from the scanning, but from the displays. Wow!

Michael brought six copies of Herman van Herwijnen's slide rule catalog on CD, which was a great convenience for those looking to get a copy, and all were sold.


We had a delicious buffet lunch in a private dining room with tables that seated six. Three guesses as to what we talked about!

Postprandial Presentations.

We had two short presentations while still seated in the dining room. Bob Otnes discussed early K&E slide rules. Bob explored the likely connection between Rabone & Sons in England and K&E and then went on to describe the discovery of a rule that confirmed the belief that K&E was selling rules in the 1890s made by Dennert and Pape. Michael O'Leary followed and complemented Bob's presentation with a description of his K&E slide rule master cross-reference (XREF). Michael explained how he got started and how the XREF is organized as an Excel spreadsheet, using some of the conventions already used by Herman van Herwijnen's catalog.


Ed Chamberlain was the auctioneer and Howard Andrews the recorder. It was a reminder that it is different to bid live rather than on eBay, with the other bidders standing right there in the room! Good deals were to be had. The auction worked this way: items up for auction were on display all morning with a starting price. If nobody signed up to indicate interest, it was not auctioned but was available for private sale after the auction. If only one person signed up, it was sold to that person at the starting price, without coming up for auction. If two people signed up, it was auctioned. Ed did a knowledgeable job of describing the items and soliciting bids. A couple of items that did generate modest bidding contests were a K&E model 100 (7-foot teaching version of the 4053-3) that went for about $155 and a Pickett N3p-ES with cylindrical magnifying cursor (yes, 180 degrees on each side of the rule) that went for about $65, despite Ed's efforts to remind us that this was a $150 or greater item on eBay (it did have one screw missing on an end brace and an SSN written on the edge).


Michael O'Leary and I made the trip together from New Hampshire (three more guesses as to what we talked about in the sixteen hours of driving!). We were privileged to see some of the items in Jerry Helck's and Conrad Schure's homes. Many of Jerry's rules were given to him by friends and we found ourselves wishing we had such friends! Michael spent some time helping scan and organize Jerry's collection and here the papparazzo caught them in action! We also got to stand in Conrad's study and gawk at a few percent of the items he has. Amazing is an understatement. Things we didn't even know existed! Again, in Michael O'Leary's words:

After the meeting concluded, Conrad graciously invited some of us stragglers over to his home, and I was stunned speechless by what he did not bring to the meeting. I can't even describe it.

I think you can safely say we had a good time!

Other Meeting Reports.

Reports for other Oughtred Society Meetings are available on the Meetings page.