Randy, I Have Your Slide Rule!

Honestly, I wasn’t going to go out sourcing yesterday. I wasn’t! But the mini downsizing estate sale was just two miles from my house. There wasn’t much in the photos that interested me, but I figured it’s just two miles. From my house. Might as well go! I got there a few minutes after opening time and it was packed with people and frankly there wasn’t much there. My picker friend Diane was carrying a little basket with a few things in it, and with all the other people milling about, I was guessing the best small stuff had already been nabbed! Or had it?

After doing a quick peruse of the two rooms…yes, just two and a garage (one of which was empty except for some shelves with a packs of light bulbs), I went back to the living/diningroom combo and spotted a leather case with a vintage slide rule (1947 Keuffel & Esser) on a table. It was grubby, but nothing that couldn’t be cleaned. I was surprised that no one had grabbed it. I was happy to take that and two triangular US Lutz drafting rulers. All these belonged to Randy–Randy who had copiously marked them with his name. I was intrigued.

And that was all I found to buy at the estate sale. Slim pickings indeed.

But the next-door neighbor had set up a table with a few bits that she was selling (darn clever of her to take advantage of the estate sale crowd), so I popped over and had a look. As I was looking things over she said, “Oh I see you have Randy’s slide rule. He was an amazing electrical engineer at SLAC [Stanford Linear Accelerator]. They used slide rules before computers.” How cool is that! It’s always fun to get a bit of the story behind items.

I found Randy in one of the SLAC newsletters. He looks quite personable.

These rulers were obviously well loved and used. I’ll be listing the three as a lot for $45.

And at the neighbor’s sale I bought an interesting art glass vase with a rough pontil mark.

She said she didn’t know much about it as it had been a gift years ago. When I got home I noticed that it was signed “Slater.” Hmmm.

After some research I discovered it was a Dick Slater piece. (Still trying to find out more about Dick.) Most of his pieces have recently sold from $66 to $95, so my little yard sale find turned out to be a good score. Not sure yet what I’ll list this for. Some of his vases are currently listed for over $100.

So as it turns out it was 30 minutes well spent. And rather serendipitous finding that art glass. (My total expenses for the trip: $6!)

Hope you find some great things this weekend too!



  1. I always grab slide rules at estate sales. They are surprisingly valuable sometimes. K&E and Pickett seen to be the most desirable.

    Btw, it’s “slide rule” not “slide ruler”

    Liked by 1 person

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