# What does the mysterious constant marked by C on a slide rule indicate?

Years ago, before everyone (or anyone) had electronic calculators, I had a pocket slide rule which I used in secondary school until the first TI-30 cane out.

Recently I dug it out. Here’s a photo of one end of it. As you can see, there’s a number $$CC$$ marked at about $$1.1281.128$$ (times some power of $$1010$$; with a slide rule you supply that yourself) on the C and D scales. Reading across to the A scale, its square is about $$1.271.27$$. By the C1 scale (which reads reciprocals of the C scale) its reciprocal is about $$0.8860.886$$ (times some power of $$1010$$).

The only two special numbers marked are $$CC$$ and $$\pi\pi$$.

I’m not sure whether it’s some frequently used constant that’s used (eg) in some branch of engineering, or a number which is useful for some trick for using the slide rule.

Unlike $$\pi\pi$$, which is marked on most of the scales, this mysterious $$CC$$ only appears on the C and D scales, which are the main ones used for multiplication and division.

If you need me to, I can give more explanation of the various scales on the rule and how calculations are done. That might give some clues as to what $$CC$$ is for.

I’m sure the instructions explained what $$CC$$ was, but I last saw those in the 1970s.

Has anyone any idea what $$CC$$ is and why it would be useful on a slide rule?

C – Gauge mark found on the C and D scales denoting $$\sqrt{4/\pi} = 1.128\sqrt{4/\pi} = 1.128$$ for calculating the area of a circle and the volume of a cylinder. Place the C mark on the C scale over the diameter of a circle on the D scale. The area of the circle is found above the index on the A scale. If this is the base of a cylinder, without moving the slide, move the cursor to the height of the cylinder on the B scale. The volume is read on the A scale. This gauge mark was rendered obsolete with the advent of multi-lined cursors.