Provenance of your vintage gear


So, I am a new member and maybe this topic been discussed before....

I recently was trying to use a 1A1 plugin in my 1956 type 531... Have some issues with it.... Reason for joining.

While I was working with the 1A1, I recalled when and where I got it. Purchased from a coworker at a former employer about 25yrs ago. I got it along with 2x 547 scopes and a couple of 1A2 plugins and a type W. Stuff came originally from (at the time) our employer Zytec and was at the mfg plant in Minnesota. I worked there from '94-'96. This coworker was a long time employee and probably got it in the 80s... It was in his damp garage.

So, Zytec, was a spin off from Control Data Corp, one of the mainframe computer companies from the 60s/70s. The plant were I was working in the mid 90s (Zytec) originally was a satellite power supply plant for CDC. Later merged and morphed and now is Artesyn but the plant I was working at is owned by someone else making other stuff.

I would expect all the stuff I had got at that time originally was CDC assets from the '60s.

I was looking at the last cal sticker on this plugin and noted the initials of the cal tech. I knew who that was from my time working there a decade later in the mid 90s ( cal from 9-1985). Googled the person and found out they passed away in 2020 age 69 :(

Getting all nostalgic now...

I have a small collection of vintage tek stuff...

The type 531 I have owned since 1986 and was in the clear-out sale from my tech school. At that time it had a sticker on it stating "IBM Technical Gifts" and was probably a donation to the state (Minnesota, USA) schools from the Rochester, MN IBM plant. Most likely IBM was the original owner. Cal tag from 1970 on the front, although I have been through it a a few times over my ownership.

I have also a 535 from that same sale but I don't recall any tags on it and its not at hand to look. Not working at this time.

I also have a few plugins from that same sale, and their asset tags are interesting. One is from AEC Sandia Corp (aka Sandia National Labs). Another is North American Aviation. I believe these were all acquired as surplus by the school in the 70s. One wonders where they were and what they were used for back when!!!

Then, I have a circa 1957 type 545 that also probably came from Control Data Corp. Got from a surplus outlet in St Paul in 1992. I remember they had a couple 514AD scopes there at that time that I passed on.

So, one thinks about the unknown engineers and techs of decades past that used this stuff.

Seems like the gear at work now is not going to end up anywhere but the landfill eventually. I have seen even 10-15yr old RF gear in the dumpster at work as they upgrade the EMC test lab. I am sure it probably worked.


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