All these stories about surplus made me wonder - is there a group dedicated
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to surplus? The stories are usually great ones.
On Sat, Nov 28, 2020 at 1:22 AM Steven Horii <email@example.com> wrote:
Your story reminded me of my first date with my wife (we'll celebrate 30
years in 2021). I took her to Vulcan Surplus (closed years ago) in
Stamford, CT. I lived in NYC the first time I went and later when I lived
in northern NJ. We went to United House Wrecking afterward - they were an
outfit that salvaged stuff from houses and other buildings being torn down.
Not much electronics, but acres of other stuff. Some of those things would
likely have been worth the "investment" - old wooden public telephone
booths for example. Besides the surplus electronics I found at Vulcan,
there was also their huge stock of hardware, most of it stainless steel.
You could buy stainless steel screws, washers, nuts, etc. by the pound.
They did charge more for the really small stuff - stainless screws in 0-80
to 2-56 - a box of 100 of these (in the original manufacturer boxes) was
$1-2. I have been to Fair Radio Sales - my in-laws live in Ohio near Dayton
- but only a couple of times. Other stuff I bought from their catalogs. I
knew my wife-to-be at the time was the right person for me - she's not an
engineer but she did work (until she retired) as a systems analyst and
software development team manager.
The sad bit is when surplus dealers go out of business and with no one to
take it over, stuff often goes to scrap dealers. I am pretty sure that this
is what happened to Omnibus Electronics on Long Island. Lou Lasser owned
the place and there was an associated business that did contract
electronics work. Lou bought a lot of stuff from the aerospace companies on
Long Island so it was like a candy store for me - I spent a lot of money
over the years on Apollo surplus from Grumman and Kollsman Instrument. I
still have boxes of small parts from the Apollo optical stuff. Sadly, four
Apollo Lunar Module Alignment Optical Telescopes got scrapped. Brand-new in
the NASA blue transit cases. I managed to get some of the eyepiece
assemblies and various spares, but no complete telescopes. Also scrapped
were three of the much more elaborate Apollo Command Module Optical Unit
Assemblies - they housed the sextant and telescope assemblies used for
updating the inertial navigation system. Lou claimed he told one of the
guys who scrapped stuff not to scrap the LM AOT and CM OUA, but the message
never got to the other guys and when Lou was out on a buying trip, the
person he told not to scrap the Apollo stuff was out making a delivery and
the other guys went after the Apollo stuff with hammers. They sold the
scrap beryllium for about $120 a pound. I saw (and bought) the remains of
these, so I don't doubt he had the complete units. The CM OUA had about 60
pounds of beryllium in it (actually, the whole casing was a large beryllium
piece). Lou had a second building he used for storage - he let my friend
and I look around, but he said the later Grumman stuff was in large crates
on pallet racks and getting them down would take too long. I did buy some
test equipment from him, but not much Tek stuff - a couple of letter and
1-series plug-ins. His prices for test equipment were a little too high. He
moved the business years later and my buddy and I went out there - also
still on Long Island. We both found interesting stuff and bought it. He
showed us several rows of truck trailers in his back lot full of all that
stuff that had been in the storage warehouse - so we still never got to see
it because it was late in the day by that time and getting into those
trailers would have been a difficult task. The next time we called him, the
number had been disconnected and we were told he had passed away. No one
could tell us who purchased the building and lot - my friend went by and
both were empty. We have no idea what happened to all that stuff. If there
was a lot of space program surplus from Grumman, it has not shown up on
eBay or in the space program auctions. It either went to scrap or someone
is hoarding it. If anyone on this thread had been to Omnibus or knew Lou
Lasser, I'd love to know more. Lou was a very nice guy and he always had
great stories about getting the surplus stuff he did acquire.
On Fri, Nov 27, 2020 at 8:21 PM Tim Laing <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Hello, I live about 2 miles from Fair radio. I know the owner Phil, not
a close friend though. I am not sure what will happen when he retires....
I do not know if the show room is open to the public at this time. I
can do some checking. I can stop in but if I do I generally need to have at
least 2 hours free to wander around and get my fix.... I have gone there
on missions for other people in the past. I could check on plug ins.
My first visit was probably when I was 13 or 14 years old, I am 59 now.
I took my future wife to Fair Radio on our first “date”. Maria and I
are still Married going on 31 years.
Prices are not cheap but he has a lot of overhead costs. I have a
bunch of pictures that I have taken there in the past, I am afraid of the
day I find out they are closing. I wish I had taken pictures in the old
dairy buildings located on Eureka Street. Tim Laing