Category Archives: Cold War Calculators

1959 RAND Progress Curve Computer

If it cost $5 million to produce ten military aircraft  how much would it cost to produce 100 or 500  if the cost per plane declined due to economies of scale [learning curve, bulk buying etc.]? This  Progress Curve Computer dates from the Cold War days when the USAF could buy a plane for $500K rather than for a sum equivalent to the GNP of a small nation. It allowed the USAF to calculate how much it should be paying for large orders of military aircraft.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Calculators, Cold War Calculators

Cold War Chemical Warfare Calculator

A NATO chemical warfare  computer from the Cold War period. The calculator is 4.5 inches in diameter and is made of plastic.

1 Comment

Filed under Calculators, Cold War Calculators

Air-Burst Effects Computer No. 1

The Air-Burst Effects Computer No.1  was designed by Blundell Rules Ltd. (BRL) of Weymouth.  It is made of plastic and is 10 inches in diameter.  I think they were issued to the UK’s Royal Observer Corps [ROC] during the Cold War. The ROC manned a national network of bunkers equipped to provide government with information on targets and weapons used in the event of a nuclear attack on the UK [see Wikipedia article on Square Leg].

Unlike the ROC’s Nuclear Weapons Effects Computers  the Air-Burst Effects Computer focused solely on the effects of a nuclear explosion occurring above the ground (Air-Burst).  Though on its back it states that ‘This computer also gives the blast effects of ground-burst weapons as obtained from the Nuclear Weapon Effects Computers No. 1 and 2’.

Nuclear planners assumed that surface [or sub surface] bursts would be used against hardened targets such as missile silos or command bunkers.  As the diagrams below show they are less effective against cities.  They also produce much more radioactive fallout than an air burst because soil and rock  is drawn up into the mushroom cloud.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Calculators, Cold War Calculators

BRL Radiac Slide Rule

The Radiac Slide Rule below was designed  by B. W. Soole at the Admiralty Research Laboratory in  England in the early 1950s.  Its purpose is to allow a user to calculate radiation exposure levels at selected times after a nuclear explosion.Radiation decays according to the 7/10 rule.  Seven hours after an explosion, the radiation is 1/10 the original level. After seven times seven hours (49 hours, or two days) it is 1/10 of that, or 1/100 the original. After seven times two days it is 1/1000 the original intensity.

The source data for the rule appears to have been taken from the the Radiation Dosage Calculator  developed  in 1950/51 by  Orr  for the Connecticut State Office of Civil Defense. The data in Orr’s calculator was used by several radiac calculator designers.

The rule is heavy duty plastic and 12 inch long by 2.5 inch wide. It was made by Blundell Rules Limited (BRL) of Luton and Weymouth, England. BRL later produced two circular radiac calculators; Radiac Calculators 1 & 2. These will be the subject of a later post. Check this site for information on BRL and their slide rules.

The two slides are reversible. Scales A and C should be used for contamination produced by explosions over land. Scales E and F should be used for contamination produced by radioactive sea water.

Set to compute contamination produced by radioactive sea water

Set to compute radioactive contamination produced by an explosion over land

A note on the radiac slide rule.

For more posts about Cold War calculators click on the Cold War Calculators category on the right.

Leave a comment

Filed under Calculators, Cold War Calculators

ABC-M5A2 Fallout Predictor

This is a 40 inch by 24 inch map vinyl map overlay for plotting the fallout pattern from a surface or near surface nuclear explosion on a 1:50,000 or 1:250,000 map. My copy is dated November 1982.

My copy of the users manual is dated January 1975.

ABC-M5A2 Manual

For more posts about Cold War calculators click on the Cold War Calculators category on the right.

Leave a comment

Filed under Calculators, Cold War Calculators

The Nuclear Bomb Effects Computer V3

Versions two and three of the Nuclear Bomb Effects Computer were designed by the Lovelace Foundation. Version one was designed by EG & G.

The Lovelace Foundation was founded by  William Lovelace II (1907–1965); an American physician who made contributions to aerospace medicine. By the beginning of the 1950s  Lovelace  was a major contractor to the United States government in the field of research into the  effects of nuclear weapons.

Lovelace studied medicine at the Harvard Medical School and graduated in 1934.  During World War II he served in the Air Force. He personally performed experiments in escape and the use of the parachute at high-altitude. On 24 June 1943 he bailed out of an aircraft flying at 40,200 feet.  After the parachute opened he was knocked unconscious, and he suffered frostbite when his gloves were ripped off. For this test he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

In 1947 he helped establish the Lovelace Medical Foundation in Albuquerque, and became the chairman of the Board of Governors. He used this clinic to promote the development of medical aerospace technology.

In 1958 he was appointed the chairman of the NASA Special Advisory Committee on Life Science. As head of NASA’s Life Sciences, he would then play a key role in the selection of the astronauts chosen for the Mercury program missions.  In 1964 he was appointed NASA’s Director of Space Medicine. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Calculators, Cold War Calculators

The Armoured Cavalry Beale Wheel

I do not have much information on the this wheel chart.  It was probably produced as a training aid for tank commanders .

The one shown below is dated April 1973; so it is from the Vietnam War/Cold War period.   It provides data on 14 different armoured cavalry operations, including Weapons Ranges, Fire Request, Route Reconnaissance, and Attack Planning. It also provides instructions on how to prepare for a nuclear attack.  A 1:50,000 map grid scale and 360 degree protractor are included.  The wheel chart is double-sided,  4″ square and made of  plastic.

I have seen a reference to a 2006 version so it may  still be in production.

Leave a comment

Filed under Calculators, Cold War Calculators