Someone just pointed me at a really Interesting Article on Heathkits in MAKE magazine. This article tells about a young lad called Howard Nurse who – starting in the 1950s &ndask; built hundreds of Heathkits.
What really comes over is the description of Howard perusing and pondering the latest Heathkit catalog, saving up, placing his order, counting the days until the new kit arrived, and then constructing his latest masterpiece.
It reminds me of myself in England in the early 1970s, anxiously waiting for the next issue of Practical Electronics magazine, selecting a project of interest, racing down to my local electronics store to purchase the components, and then breaking out my soldering iron as soon as a returned home.
Of course things were so much different then, not the least that whatever you built as a kit was much cheaper than buying a real product. For example, back in my youth again, I remember an older friend of the family who build a color television as a kit (everyone we knew had black-and-white sets), for about 1/4 what it would have cost to buy an off-the-shelf unit.
Furthermore, an enterprising young man could make some useful pocket money performing simple repairs on neighbors electrical and electronic appliances. These days, of course, everything is the other way around – it's cheaper to buy an off-the-shelf product than it is to purchase a do-it-yourself kit; and it's cheaper to throw something away and buy a new one than it is to fix the original... we certainly do live in strange and interesting times...
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