Colin Barnes 1940-2016

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We are very sad to report the passing of Colin Barnes, one of the key figures in establishing the UK Slide Rule Circle collection at TNMOC in 2009.

Peter Hopp, a friend and colleague of Colin's in the UK Slide Rule Circle, has kindly supplied this tribute:

It is with incredible sadness that we bid farewell to our friend and collecting colleague, founding member of the United Kingdom Slide Rule Circle (UKSRC), the inspiration and original editor of Skid Stick, the thrice yearly UKSRC newsletter as well as the annual UKSRC Slide Rule Gazette and someone who has been a part of the international slide rule collecting fraternity for over three decades. In recognition of his contribution to the slide rule collecting world, Colin was a very worthy Fellow of the Oughtred Society and Oughtred Society Award winner in 1996.

Colin suffered with various health problems for a number of years culminating in his loss of a leg some years ago, which left him wheel-chair bound. This did not daunt him and he and Peter Hopp became a familiar sight at many antique and collector’s fairs for many years, both here and abroad. Their adventures as they attended such events were great fun, and his incredible spirit and good humour was an inspiration to all who came into contact with him. He passed away after a relatively short illness. Our thoughts are with Jane, Julia and David and their families at this sad time.

Prior to retiring, Colin was the owner of Barnes Models, a company which produced architectural and other display models for the business world including various Government Departments and large international companies. He had formed this company on his return in 1974 with his young family from the British Virgin Islands where he had gone in 1962/3 as “Chief Engineer” on a retired Trawler; the tale of the Atlantic crossing on this ship being the subject of his short book Kilros.

Like so many of the slide rule collecting fraternity, Colin thought that his early interest in slide rules was unique and it was via other early collectors such as the late John Knott and Richard Knight that he started getting together with other collectors here and abroad. It was in the early 1990s that he and some of these collectors formed the UKSRC and created links with other slide rule collecting organisations in Holland, Germany as well as the Oughtred Society in the USA. Colin had many friends in the other slide rule collecting organisations. As he became more involved with computers he started writing about slide rules and the idea of Skid Stick and Gazette were born. He was a prolific contributor of slide rule articles on an extraordinarily large range of topics both in the Gazette and in the early issues of the Oughtred Society Journal. He also produced the definitive volume on Otis King slide rules with Tedford K White in the USA.

This very brief obituary can only skim the surface of the huge contribution Colin made to our inimitable hobby. We shall miss him in more ways than we realise just at the moment. The next issue of the UKSRC Gazette will be dedicated to him and we would welcome your contribution to celebrate this lovely man.

Colin, the slide rule collecting world will miss you dreadfully old friend. Rest in Peace.

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