Stopped by for the preview at a now familiar auction house. Not much in the way of furniture this week. There were a few things that did make me stop and reflect on changing times.

We are so used to technology that I think we at times tend to forget that engineering and science were practiced in times before the era of programmable devices. Back then, there were computational devices in wide use and I found an interesting and specialized one in this slide rule:

A 6" Keuffel & Esser slide rule form the early 20th century.

A 6″ Keuffel & Esser slide rule from the early 20th century. Billed as a “Power Computer”.

This is a specialized slide rule that was used in the design of steam engines.

A 6" Keuffel & Esser slide rule form the early 20th century.

Steam engines and slide rules are not as common as they once were.

Doing some looking about, there were many specialized slide rules. Merchants, mechanics, engineers, architects and others had their own specialized slide rules. Where smart phone apps might cost $6.00 or more, this slide rule sold for the modest price of $1.20 in 1923. A bargain.

It comes along with friends:

All things I have used.

All things I have used.

Back in college, I worked summers at the front desk in one of the dorms. There was a program for gifted, financially disadvantage high school students. It was interesting to see the kids walking around with their new, encased 14″ Pickett slide rules hanging on their belts. The next summer’s batch had large Sharp, four-function calculators hanging on their belt. Times change.

There was more in the way of specialized vintage tools such as this shaving horse:

Not new but serviceable.

Not new but serviceable.

A view of the business end.

A view of the business end.

And a view of the jaws.

And a view of the jaws.

Yet more:

Two planes and a slick.

Two planes and a slick.

Some froes and other useful things.

Some froes and other useful things.

Note to Hummel collectors, your kids probably don’t want them.

Prices aren't what they used to be.

Prices aren’t what they used to be.

My father had a major Hummel collection. He passed on and now my mother has a major Hummel collection. The prices have dropped dramatically. The original manufacturer dropped the line. The next manufacturer went bankrupt and another company is making them now. None of us youngsters have any interest in the collection.

If you’re not sure what Hummels are, consider yourself lucky. I gained knowledge through osmosis by hanging around with my father. Not all life lessons are useful.

And some different kinds of tools, these plug in:

They are tools that plug in and don't spin or cut.

They are tools that plug in and don’t spin or cut.

Many are handmade. Well, Heathkits. Look it up. I built a few in my time. None of these are mine.

A really nice radio:

They don't make 'em like this anymore.

They don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Old radios, like old upright pianos, can be true works of art, only industrial. If I had infinite space and money, I would collect both.

There was one dovetailed piece there and I had to document it. It is in my nature.

It has hand-cut dovetails, I'm excited.

It has hand-cut dovetails, I’m excited.

And here they are:

Dovetails and beads.

Dovetails and beads. Who could ask for anything more?

Once again you see that furniture makers really did not want to do anymore work than they needed to. Who cares about the back of a dresser?

Doesn't have to be pretty to keep out dust and provide stability.

Doesn’t have to be pretty to keep out dust and provide stability.

Well, that’s a wrap. Not the entire auction, just the interesting bits.