Old bad surplus mail order houses 
Author Message
 Old bad surplus mail order houses

Recent discussion of places to buy surplus electronic stuff reminded me
of some (now defunct, I think) mail order places.

Anyone remember "Poly Paks"?  They had a fair amount of cute artwork in
their catalogs.  But you had to read carefully.  I remember one thing they
had: 20 conductor (or some such number) ribbon cable cut to 1 foot lengths.
But it was worded to look like you were going to pay x cents per foot,
without you fully comprehending that it wasn't continious feet!

The quality of stuff they sold tended to be rather poor.  Stuff like
ICs tended to be partially functional.  "Hobby grade".  I wouldn't
want to waste my hobby time trying to get something to work when it was
the parts were bad, not my bad design.  I once got some isolation
transformers, but they turned out to be much smaller than I expected.

Another annoying thing they sometimes did was to offer free stuff for
orders over a certian amount, and I'd order enough, but then they'd
only send some of the stuff, and they marked the packing slip "no
freebees now, because it's a partial order".

Other stuff was identified as "untested", "no time to test", "You test".
and such.  I wouldn't waste my time.

They (as far as I know) disappeared probably because people didn't like
the poor quality of stuff that should have been good.  Of course,
untested means all bets are off, but the good stuff should be decent.

I've heard people in test depts at some small companies mention that the
chips found bad in circuit board production test were tossed into a
special bin, and later sold to Poly Paks.



Thu, 25 Apr 1996 01:50:10 GMT
 Old bad surplus mail order houses

Ah Poly Paks, remember them well.  I was able to get a few electronics
projects out of their parts as a kid, especially once I learned how to
order from them (basically don't order "untested" parts unless they sold
100/$cheap and you only needed a few and could test them easily)
Still have one or two of their last catalogs.

-Mike



Sun, 28 Apr 1996 13:23:37 GMT
 Old bad surplus mail order houses


Fri, 19 Jun 1992 00:00:00 GMT
 Old bad surplus mail order houses

Quote:

> Ah Poly Paks, remember them well.  I was able to get a few electronics
> projects out of their parts as a kid, especially once I learned how to
> order from them (basically don't order "untested" parts unless they sold
> 100/$cheap and you only needed a few and could test them easily)

yep.  

I remember back in the mid-60's, one of the first copies of PE I ever saw
(or maybe it was one of their project compilations that they put out twice
a year) had a review of surplus parts houses.  It was a little funny because
they couldn't mention any names for fear of losing advertisers!  So they had
to give you "guidelines" for reading ads.  Of course some of their descriptions
of their sample purchases were sort of slanted to let you know who they were
talking about... among others, they mentioned getting a bunch of resistors in
a "poly bag".  uh-huh.  

        --- Jamie Hanrahan, Kernel Mode Systems, San Diego CA



Sun, 28 Apr 1996 08:18:12 GMT
 Old bad surplus mail order houses


Fri, 19 Jun 1992 00:00:00 GMT
 Old bad surplus mail order houses

: Anyone remember "Poly Paks"?  They had a fair amount of cute artwork in
: their catalogs.  But you had to read carefully.  I remember one thing they
: had: 20 conductor (or some such number) ribbon cable cut to 1 foot lengths.
: But it was worded to look like you were going to pay x cents per foot,
: without you fully comprehending that it wasn't continious feet!

OK, a followup question:  Did PolyPaks derive from Lektron Specialties?
In an ad in a 1958 Radio-Electronics magazine, Lektron devotes some
space to "Save $3 to $30 on each of these world-famous POLY-PAKS $1 each"

And in Feb. 57 Radio & Television News, Lektron was calling apparently
the same sorts of things "Lektron's Famous KitKing Dollar Buys!  Exclusive
with Lektron!"

That same R&T News has some other interesting ads, including one from Fair
Radio Sales, Lima, Ohio, still around today, and Texas Crystals, then in
River Grove, Ill., later moved to Ft. Meyer, Fla., on Crystal Drive:  did
they then become JAN Crystals?  And several pages each for Allied's Knight
Kits and Heathkits.  The atomic age:  Heathkit professional radiation
counter kit, Model RC-1, for $79.95 -- and a DX-20 transmitter for $35.95
and matching VF-1 VFO for $19.50 (not $19.95??).  --  and an ad from
CBS Semiconductors for 2N255 ($2.95 net) and 2N256 ($3.45 net) transistors.

(Long ago I tossed most of my old magazine collection, but kept a very
few for the memories...)



Mon, 29 Apr 1996 02:34:31 GMT
 Old bad surplus mail order houses
There were a number of other companies that sold surplus stuff.
Does anyone know what happened to:

           ETCO Electronics (kinda like poly-paks)
           John Meshna (surplus)
           BNF Enterprises (surplus)

I would be interested in knowing if any are still around and their
addresses.

Wes



Mon, 29 Apr 1996 06:33:28 GMT
 Old bad surplus mail order houses
Marlin P. Jones in Florida reminds me of polypaks.

I have no complaints.  They sell cheaper than any other mail-order
electronics house that I am aware of.  Dc to dc convertors are dirt
cheap for instance.  Mostly new stuff, but some used.




Tue, 30 Apr 1996 10:56:09 GMT
 Old bad surplus mail order houses
You know I still got a refund check from those guys from about 1976, could
never find anything I wanted after that. If they're still around I'd love
to send em an order with partial payment as that old check. Of course
they'd probably still be out of stock of what I wanted and would send me
another refund check....
Jeff


Tue, 30 Apr 1996 01:29:47 GMT
 Old bad surplus mail order houses

Quote:

>You know I still got a refund check from those guys from about 1976, could
>never find anything I wanted after that. If they're still around I'd love
>to send em an order with partial payment as that old check. Of course
>they'd probably still be out of stock of what I wanted and would send me
>another refund check....
>Jeff

-------------------------------
If it's actually a bank check, then it's worthless. They are limited to 60
days. They might have made up gift or value certificates, however.
-RSteveW


Sun, 05 May 1996 23:28:11 GMT
 Old bad surplus mail order houses

Quote:


>>You know I still got a refund check from those guys from about 1976, could
>>never find anything I wanted after that. If they're still around I'd love
>>to send em an order with partial payment as that old check. Of course
>>they'd probably still be out of stock of what I wanted and would send me
>>another refund check....
>>Jeff
>-------------------------------
>If it's actually a bank check, then it's worthless. They are limited to 60
>days. They might have made up gift or value certificates, however.

The old Poly Paks refunds were a credit on your next order for the amount
sold out +10% or you could return it to them if you just wanted your
money back (no 10% bonus in that case).

Those guys were _always_ sold out of something!

-Mike



Mon, 06 May 1996 08:51:07 GMT
 
 [ 11 post ] 

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