Nestler Slide Rules

The latest member of my little slide rule family, Nestler was another major German slide rule manufacturer. They had many similar offerings to Faber Castell, and their early celluloid-wood rules are actually quite difficult to tell apart. Like Faber and Aristo, they eventually switched to mainly all-plastic models, and produced some very high quality rules. Is it my imagination, or did those Germans really love to make slide rules? The rules on this page were all obtained as new old stock directly from Germany, and feature some of my favourite designs. For those of you who are interested, Nestler is another one of those rare companies that survived the slide rule meltdown and remains in business as, you guessed it, a specialized paper products company (now called Nestler-matho).

Nestler Nr. 0292 Multimath Duplex - February, 1975

Wow ... talk about a slide rule! This has got to win the prize for the longest standard slide rule that I have ever seen (I've clocked it at just a hair past 14 inches). Rest assured, Nestler filled in that space nicely with 28 scales, all self-documented on the right hand side, and many with extended scales to boot. The slider is one long green accent stripe, on both faces of the rule. Protruding rubber feet are also present on both faces of the stator end braces, to protect the cursor from scratches when layed down flat. The cursor assembly has a really nice substantial feel, with a good weight and smooth sliding motion. The cursor itself features their standard multi-hairline design. As for age, this is probably one of the last rules off the Nestler assembly line ... the date code places this rule to February, 1975! If you want to see a slightly earlier version of this same rule, check out my Staedtler 544 28 (It was made by Nestler, and is identical to the 0292). The case for this rule has a nice dark brown leather finish, although it is a bit on the flimsy side and probably wouldn't have lasted too long in the real world (the similar design Staedtler case is much sturdier, in comparison). Also included is a plastic ruler/equivalents & conversions table shown in the high resolution scans. This rule also came with a small paper insert advising you on how to care for and clean your rule, shown in its own scan. Interesting to see how things can get lost in the translation ... for example, the more detailed French instructions tell you to use a standard eraser ("gomme a effacer") to clean minor stains, but never to use a plastic eraser ("gomme en plastique"). In English, this simply became a warning to avoid those dreaded "plastic rubbers" ... well, it was the 70's after all.

Nestler Nr. 0130 Multimath Duplex - April, 1974

This is the pocket model version of Nr. 0292 presented above ... although at just over 7.5 inches long, you had better have pretty deep pockets! Of course, the same could be said in terms of the purchase price, since nowadays these often fetch even more than the full-length versions. It has all the same scales, and shares a similar style and arrangement to its big brother up above. For some reason, though, they dropped the green accent stripe on the slider. The cursor assembly, with standard multi-hairline cursor, is well put together and slides very nicely. This rule has a simpler pocket-style case, made out of similar dark brown leather. A nice little ruler/conversion card is included (shown on the high resolution scans), that is similar to the full length model above. There are few differences, though ... for example, this is the first time I've seen Greek notation described on a slide rule insert (quite handy, actually). I don't have too many high end pocket models in my collection, given their relative scarcity and high cost, but it is nice to see such a high quality rule made compactly. A very respectable tool to carry around with you!

Nestler Nr. 0210 Darmstadt - February, 1974

Nestler's version of the classic Darmstadt design. It is interesting to compare this very late model Nestler rule with the early 1960's Faber design and the more advanced 1970's Hemmi version in my collection. In terms of scale arrangement, it is virtually identical to the earlier Faber model (evidently, none of Hemmi's improvements made it back to Germany in time!). And although they've kept the extended primary scales, they've actually dropped most of the useful self-documenting features of the rule! Only the Pythagorean (P), exponent (LL2), and sine (S) and tangent (T) scales remain labelled. I can't quite figure that move out ... did they think that only these scales required explanation? Also like the Faber, the S & T scales are on the hard edge and the base Log (Lg) scale is on the slanted edge, although now with a centimeter ruler (well, that's some progress, I suppose). The most unusual feature of the scales is their old-fashioned ladder appearance ... I guess Nestler was trying to appeal to the nostalgic user at this point in the rapid decline and death of the slide rule. In fact, there is much about this rule that brings to mind an attempt to capture past glories. For example, the cursor has a nice substantial metal-framed glass design, unlike the all-plastic cursors that had been standard for some time by this period. The multi-hairline cursor also has an interesting translating piece for the slanted edge. In any case, the German conversion table on the back seems fairly well up to date. Oddly, the rule seems to be composed of several different types of wood. The case is the same standard brown leather model as shown for the Nr. 0292 above. An interesting mix of new and old, but still kind of a sad ending to a noble line, if you know what I mean. Sic transit gloria mundi ...

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Page last updated on June 15, 2002 -
All material © 1999, 2002 by Eric Marcotte, Ph.D.