Engineers Have Tools, too

I thought I’d share some of my ‘tools’ of the trade. Most are obsolete and now available via the Internet and various specialty software programs.

I’m not as big of a packrat as my mother. I either felt a need to keep this stuff because I may need them sometime along the way or they’re for my post-mortem garage sale that my children will surely have after I’m gone. Of course, it’s also likely and more probable, that these items were packed away and long forgotten until I became hell-bent to purge.

Slide rules, as I posted earlier, were the basic tool in the 1970’s.  I purchased my own, in a shiny holder suitable for strapping to my belt. Complete with a ‘how to’ book, I was set. After that one Introduction to Engineering class, I never picked it up again. Still looks as new as the day I bought it.

Vendors often plied us with advertising in the form of useful ‘calculators’. My first exposure to the circular slide rule came from Proctor and Gamble, a thank you gift for interviewing with them. Others actually had value for the type of mechanical work I did in the 1980’s. The Trane ‘Ductulator’ was a must-have tool. With a few turns, the duct sizes became apparent and the design was complete. I’m not sure where I received the ‘Pipe Flow Slide Rule’, but another invaluable tool for determining piping sizes from information regarding flow rate and pressure typically provided by the chemical engineer in the group.

A few more 'Tools' - It's a mechanical thing...

Yes, at one time or another I used every one of these drawing tools shown below for sketches or official drawings. Engineers are serious about straight lines! The bright blue item, a parallel glide, provides a moving straight line. This was a late purchase and at the urging of a designer I worked with who convinced me I could not live without it.

Still in the wrapper and a bargain to boot!

These books below mostly supplied by vendors, have very useful information for the engineer in the field and computer-less. Steam tables are probably the most difficult to comprehend. I hope they have computer programs for those.

And some more books.

Here’s an interesting item, combination reference tool and computer guide for AutoCAD. The CadCARD had it all for the beginning computer designer.

My dad was a draftsman. He worked both aerospace during the space race of the 1960’s and for oil and compressor companies later. Here are a few of his tools, otherwise known as my inheritance.

Tools have changed dramatically and probably for the better. No more bulky boxes and containers to keep these items secured. Everything fits nicely on the hard drive of a computer. Of course there are those times, when servers crash and power goes out…I think I’ll hang onto these for a little bit longer, just in case.

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About stemzandroses

I'm an engineer and writer with a built-in need to share my nearly 40 years of experience working in a male-dominated field with the rest of the world.
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2 Responses to Engineers Have Tools, too

  1. Vicki says:

    If you want to sell any-I might find a use for them when I start scrapbooking. I could draw some serious straight and curvy lines with those babies. My only remenant is a plug from the switchboard I trained on but never used. I keep it as a key chain momento along with a token from an old 1880’s whorehouse-not much difference in the jobs now that I look back.

    • I will be sure to let you know, or let the kids know you want them. 🙂 I’ve got a ton of that stuff along with what my mother gave me that was my dad’s (only showed part of the haul).

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