On a totally unscheduled stop at a North Carolina Goodwill this weekend after helping my gal-pal "Chanco" move, We found this tattered and taped up treasure chest of old vacuum tubes.
Most SANE people would have walked on by, but I was drawn to the little terrariums of technology, the mysterious filaments and conductors sealed inside the bulby, bell-jar shaped beauty of them.
Each is like it's own little palm-sized City of Kandor...
At $25 for the entire 1ft x 1.5ft x 6' h box (which has easily over a hundred tubes of all conceivable size and shape), it was the highest ticket item I had bought at goodwill since I scored a beautiful hardwood coffee table for the same price....but I knew the potential in it.
I've bought a couple on ebay before for use in ray gun and robot projects, so I also knew that, working or not, they are a goldmine to retro hobbyists as well as steampunk/industrial/robot sculptors.
So, now I have picked out an assortment to keep for myself in future raygun and robot projects, and I am going to bundle the rest up into grab bags of about 10 or 15 and put them on ebay, where I already see similar grab bags go for what I paid for the box.
The find leaves me with a couple questions. Granted, I don't have the electronics knowledge to know if these vacuum tubes were for radio, television, or what-- but who donated this huge lot of tubes to goodwill? Some old ham radio hobbyist? Retired television repairman? Crazy old tinkerer (like myself?)...and furthermore, I am honestly surprised that goodwill didn't trash them and actually put them up for sale at all. In Savannah at least, they throw away a trash trailer of donations daily- anything they don't understand or think will sell....which- yes, I root through from time to time to find bits for projects.
Either way, I feel lucky to have timed it all to find this box of goodness, and that I can rescue some of them for any other retro-techno fans like myself.
if you are interested in purchasing an assortment for your projects, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org