One of those obscure props that shows up from time to time in Star Trek
is what's called an "E-6B Flight Computer." Probably the best shot of this prop is from "The Naked Time" (where Mr. Spock uses the device to somehow help him calculate some of the details of the breakup of the planet Psi 2000):
Its actual first appearance is in "The Corbomite Maneuver" where it can be seen lying on the table next to Mr. Scott as the senior officers gather in the Briefing Room to discuss options:
It can also be seen in "Wolf In the Fold" where Mr. Spock uses the device to help him in making preparations to have the ship's computer calculate the value of Pi to the "last" digit:
Of course, "E-6B Flight Computers" are real live slide-rule type devices. These are handheld devices used by pilots to help calculate such things as fuel burn, wind correction, time en route, and ground speed. Although they look kind of archaic, some pilots prefer to use them even today rather than more modern "Flight Computers" that resemble present day calculators. (These E-6B slide rules are lightweight and they don't run the risk of having batteries fail at an inopportune time!) There are measurements and scales on both the front of the device (called the "calculator side") and the back of the device (called the "wind side"), so an E-6B is two tools in one.
At any rate, a number of aviation supply manufacturers over the years have produced E-6Bs. The one seen in these screen shots was manufactured in the 1950s by Jeppesen and Company in Denver, Colorado. Jeppesen called their particular brand of E-6B a "CSG" ("Slide Graphic Computer"). Jeppesen actually made two sizes of CSG (although they are identical in all ways other than size): a small "Pocket" CSG-1 and a larger "Navigator" CSG-2; the CSG-2 is actually the more popular size among pilots. (Its larger nine and half inch size probably makes it much easier to read than the six and half inch model. Apparently nine and half inches is better than six and half inches--and size does
matter. Badda bing!)
The one in these screen shots is the smaller "Pocket" CSG-1. Since both Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek
Art Designer Matt Jefferies were accomplished pilots, the prop actually seen on the series very likely belonged to one of them. I suppose in 1966 and 1967, it looked very futuristic and looked like something that might be used in the 23rd century.
I have some pictures of my 1950s vintage Jeppesen and Company "CSG-1 Flight Computer." Here are the front and back with the device disassembled into its two components:
Front and back, properly assembled:
What's not immediately obvious (unless you're a pilot, I suppose--and you look very carefully at the screen shot from "The Naked Time") is that the rectangular slide part of the CSG-1 Mr. Spock holds in "The Naked Time" has been completely removed from the round wheel part, flipped over face down, and then reinserted. So the "calculator side" of the wheel is trying to perform measurements on the "wind side" scales--and vice versa--which is all meaningless.
So here are two shots of my CSG-1 assembled incorrectly--just like Mr. Spock's:
And just for good measure--a close up of some of the markings on the device:
I don't know if we'll see this device in any upcoming New Voyages
episodes. (Unlike back in 1966, the high definition cameras nowadays can probably make out the anachronistic writing on this device.) But you never know. Perhaps Mr. Spock or Mr. Scott might once again need to resort to this handheld device to help them with their complex calculations.
More about E-6Bs can be found at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E6B