Faber-Castell 2/83N Novo-Duplex
October 20, 2010
The Faber-Castell 2/83N desktop rule (and its less common pocket-sized sibling, the 62/83N) is probably the most sought after slide rule, especially after Dr. Clifford Stoll’s Scientific American article, When Slide Rules Ruled, drew attention to this epitome of slide rule development. As Dr. Stoll writes, the 2/83N “is considered by some to be the finest and most beautiful slide rule ever made.”
I purchased this 2/83N directly from Faber-Castell as new old-stock. In other words, it sat unopened on the manufacturer’s shelf since it was made, and has never seen the inside of an office or lab. I was the first to open it.
The Castell 2/83N is a full-sized duplex rule, having scales on both sides of the slide and stator. The front contains the typical A, B, C, D, and K scales, along with folded C and D scales (CF and DF), and inverse C, D, and CF scales (CI, DI, and CIF). Also found on the front are all sine scales (S and ST), double tan scales (T1 and T2) and Pythagorean scale (P, which gives the cosine of the angle on S). The C and CF scales are highlighted with Castell’s signature “mint” stripe, and the A and B scales are highlighted in pale blue.
The back of the rule contains four pairs of log-log scales (LL0 to LL3 and LL00 to LL03), C, CI, D, and L scales, and Castell’s unique W scales, which are like double-length C and D scales. They can be used to compute square roots, or for multiplication and division with the precision of a 20-inch rule.
Like on most Castell rules, the scales are self-documenting, meaning that the scale name appears at the left end of the scale, and its mathematical formula is at the right end.
The cursor has gauge marks for HP/kW conversion, area of a circle, and working with factors of 3.6 (e.g. degrees to seconds conversion).
|Make and Model:||Faber-Castell 2/83N|
|Manufactured:||Germany, Approx. 1972-1975|
|Overall Dimensions:||38cm × 5.7cm × 0.6cm (15″ × 2.2″ × 0.25″)|
|Scale Length:||25cm (9.8″)|
|Scales:||T1 T2 K A DF | CF B CIF CI C | D DI S ST P
LL03 LL02 LL01 LL00 W2
| W2‘ CI L C W1‘ | W1 D LL0 LL1 LL2 LL3
|Cursor:||Plastic with Extra Hairlines: HP↔kW, Diam↔Area, and 3.6x Hairlines|
|Date Acquired:||April 2008|
Being new, the plastic display/carrying case was also in mint condition, with a scratch-free clear plastic top and bottom, and shiny brass (?) hinge pins.
The instruction manual, in English, was in excellent condition, with just some yellowing of the paper with age (no musty smells). Even the box it came in was in pretty good condition, with just a few worn corners and two bent tabs. Not bad for a 30-something year old product.
Also included was a plastic reference card, about the same length and width as the slide rule. One side gives a detailed description of the SI system of measurements, and the other side describes the basics of set theory. I’m not sure why the latter would be useful to a slide rule user, since slide rules are used for arithmetic, not math.
If you've found this article useful, you may also be interested in:
- A Display Case for My Slide Rule Collection
- Faber-Castell 111/38 Stadia 360°
- Aristo Darmstadt Nr. 867U
- Aristo Multilog Nr. 970
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