I used a slide rule (Dietzgen) all through high-school and college - indeed it was an early birthday present from my parents when I started 9th grade.
In college a lot of the engineering and science majors (myself included) would wear the slide rule case strapped to our belt. It gave the appearance of "packing" (and, in a sense we were ). I still have mine and I've never forgotten how to use one although it has been decades since I last used it for anything.
As for the comment on significant figures - how true and even more so today. It is quite common to see an analysis performed with data good to just a single significant digit reported out to 3 or even 4 "significant" digits - or as my professors used to say - "empty precision."