April 26, 2007

Jump to: navigation, search

Lunar Slide

image from MoonStick.com, Quincy, Florida.

When it started in January 2004, LPOD proclaimed that it would include all aspects of the Moon. Although it has avoided astrology, LPOD has featured lunar-themed tobacco cards, novels, poetry and even 5″ yellow Pickett slide rule, I must admit to great fascination with a lunar slide rule. It can, according the maker’s claims, accurately calculate the phase of the Moon from 6000 BC to 10000 AD. The ruler bundles together six triangular plastic scales that are used to set the year, month and day and then read off the phase. At $65 it’s a pricey way to find the phase, but the company also sells a $17.50 circular slide rule - the really cool instrument of the 50s and 60s - that tells the lunar phases plus its approximate rise, transit and set times, as well as tide information. There really is no reason to have these instruments, for phase information is readily available online and often in daily newspapers. But I think that the pleasure of holding them in your hands and realizing the cleverness necessary to create them would make the prices seem trivial. Thanks to Sean Barton for making this marvelous retro tool!

Chuck Wood

Related links:

Yesterday's LPOD: Another Quarter of the Farside

Tomorrow's LPOD: Necho's Peculiar Rays


Register, Log in, and join in the comments.