Archive of Collections

The Bob Otnes Collection

Bob Otnes
Feb 2, 1932 - April 15, 2019

Bob Otnes, key founding member of the Oughtred Society, Editor of the Journal of the Oughtred Society, and distinguished expert, author, and historian on the subjects of slide rules and mechanical calculating devices.

Bob came to California in 1958 to assume a position in aerospace engineering, working first for Douglas Aircraft, then The Aerospace Corporation, and Measurement Analysis Corporation, in southern California. While earning his PhD in electrical engineering at UCLA, he also founded and ran his own company, University Software Systems. He arrived in Palo Alto in 1977, working for ESL, TRW, Maxim, Advent Systems, and finally Lockheed Corporation, where he served as a consultant until he was 75. During this time, he also traveled to many countries to teach courses in digital signal processing, authoring and co-authoring numerous papers and books in the field, including Digital Time Series Analysis, published in 1972, and Applied Time Series Analysis, in 1978.

Bob very much loved writing articles about early slide rules, early American adders, and researching their development through scientific instrument catalogs and other references. His specialized collecting interests were many and ran the entire gamut of collecting: early rules made by Keuffel and Esser, American small adders, early copies of logarithmic tables and books on mathematics, unusual planimeters, harmonic analyzers, Arithmometers and pinwheel calculators… just to name some of the major areas that easily come to mind

We are privileged to present HERE Bob's collection of slide rules.