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Whatever happened to Edmund Scientific?

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#1 70s 60 SCOPE

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:01 AM

When I was a kid in the 70s, I used to get these great B&W catalogs stuffed with stuff-- from astronomy to chemistry to magic to toys. Then I recall the catalog went glossy and downsized. No more new-old stock rubber stoppers, test tubes, or nuts and bolts. When did they finally go kaput?

#2 tim53

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:11 AM

They're still around.

http://www.scientifi...CFQLZQgodgUgA6Q

-Tim.

#3 actionhac

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:30 PM

The link Tim provided above and this one:
http://www.edmundoptics.com/
and this one:
http://www.anchoroptics.com/
are all originating from the olde favorite of ours from the 60's - 70's.

At one time knew the history of the company but I can't remember anything. I would like a refresher so hopefully someone will log in and fill us in on the above 3 links.

Robert

#4 David E

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:53 PM

At one time knew the history of the company but I can't remember anything. Robert


I get more and more like that every day. :shrug:

#5 mikey cee

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:13 PM

Robert Edmund is probably still on board laughin' all the way to the bank with those prices. :smirk: Mike

#6 terraclarke

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:25 PM

You can say that again. Their prices are outrageous, at least the Edmund Optics division. And the "Edmund Scientifics" catalog that I still get every Christmas is a far cry from the old catalog from the 60s. It mostly contains pre-made "science toys" probably from China and other overpriced "junk" and that is in and of itself a much smaller selection than back in the old days. I would hate to be a kid today depending on Edmund to get parts, etc. for science projects. They were my main source for that back in the 60s in jr. high and H.S. They would be a pitiful source today. The only thing even remotely akin to Edmund and Jaegers today is Surplus Shed (IMHO).

#7 Calypte

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:20 PM

So, which do you guys want: cheap or Made in USA? (There were complaints that most of the stuff was "probably" from China.) You can't have both. I know for a fact that many/most/all of Edmund's mirrors are US-made, because I know a guy who makes some of them. It's precisely the attitudes expressed in the foregoing posts that encouraged him to mostly abandon the amateur market. People want the quality of a Zambuto for the price of a GSO. Really!? Now, I also remember the Edmund catalogues of old, from the 1950s and 60s. They were loaded with war surplus parts. I'm sorry, but that war was 68 years ago, and most of the leftovers were sold long ago.

#8 terraclarke

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:30 PM

And that is precisely why we or at least I love this forum. Love those 68 year old left overs! They're not the least bit stale after all these years ;)

Terra

#9 Meadeball

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:32 PM

Them and Heathkit; I miss them both. :bawling:

#10 mikey cee

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:54 PM

Here's Robert Edmund in 1959. By 1977 he looked like a moustached Bobby Goldsboro. :lol: Mike

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#11 Cepheus Elf

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:06 PM

Yeah I miss the comic adverts for Sea Monkeys and X-ray Specs...

#12 actionhac

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:51 AM

The catalogs sure were great. I didn't order much of anything but Edmund just kept sending those catalogs.
Us kids would build things based on what opportunity was given to us.
If I came into some big money from mowing a lawn I would buy a surplus lens or two from Edmund.
A new house in the neighborhood meant it was "tree fort time".
A real goldmine was when someone threw out their television. We would work on one of those for weeks and strip it of everything down to the bare chassis, and build radios and Tesla coils and all kinds of electronic coolness.
We liked refrigerators for the motors and the compressor if it still worked, and we would build all kinds of things. I sort of remember a book or mag called "Science Experimenter", oh boy I can't believe I remembered that, I might even still have that book, yes it was a book if I remember correctly.

Robert

#13 BrooksObs

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 07:11 AM

Who here has been around long enough to remember seeing ads with the company's initial name of "Edmunds Savage Corp." in Scientific American? They were almost exclusively war surplus optics and associated parts back then, together with offering small refracting telescope "kits" that consisted of only a series of unmounted lenses (~2"-2.5" objective and a couple for the eyepiece). I think a bit later they offered some more-or-less suitable cardboard tubes that you could modify to mount the lenses in to actually make the telescope. Critical alignment was an absolute after thought!

I still recall purchasing my first Erfle eyepiece from them in the 50's. I believe that it came from a tank, or some such, and was decidedly oversized for use in THE standard 1.25" eyepiece holders of the time (only Unitron had a 2" and that only on their biggest scope). Edmunds fabricated and sold an adapter that brought the 2" or so lens' diameter down to fit your eyepience holder, but who knows just how much field illumination was lost in the process!

BrooksObs

#14 bremms

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:28 AM

I do remember getting catalogs in the late 60's early 70's I did get one of those early Edmund 1.25 1"1/8 FL eyepieces. It was pretty good. Gave that one away with my 4.25" F4(coulter kit), I have fond memories of that combination in the freezing weather.

#15 rmollise

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:02 AM

When I was a kid in the 70s, I used to get these great B&W catalogs stuffed with stuff-- from astronomy to chemistry to magic to toys. Then I recall the catalog went glossy and downsized. No more new-old stock rubber stoppers, test tubes, or nuts and bolts. When did they finally go kaput?


They didn't go kaput. They sold off the consumer part of the company, who continues to sell amateur astronomy products under the name "Scientifics."

The truth is, however, that the heyday you remember ended with the 70s as far as astronomy. When Norman E. retired, his son, who took over the business, decided to deemphasize astronomy. Probably a wise decision, since the market was changing radically. This was the time that Edmund's competitors--Criterion and a whole bunch more--went into the soup.

Edmund Scientific is still around, selling mostly to schools and universities...I got one of their (still big) catalogs in my box a while back. Not much astro related in it, though. The RKE eyepieces, which they still sell, are advertised as MICROSCOPE EYEPIECES. :lol:

#16 rmollise

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:04 AM

You can say that again. Their prices are outrageous,


But they are not any different, and are actually lower than many of the similar outfits in the business--which is selling to universities, mostly. I get all the catalogs since I teach in a physics department, and, believe me, some of 'em make the Edmund stuff seem like an absolute bargain. :lol:

#17 Bill Griffith

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:09 AM

In areospace photonics Edmund Scientific/Optics is a trusted standard.

Off topic slightly, Edmund Scientific/Optics optics are being used in metrology testing of JWST structures under a simulated flight environment.

Not many companies bridge that kind of gap from possibly the first telescope you looked through to assisting in the performance of telescopes that haven't launched yet.

Besides; the best darn pier legs for classic ATMer's ever mass produced!

Ok, off the soap box now.

Love this forum as well!

#18 actionhac

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 12:12 PM

We still use B-52's in our air force for a reason, its a dang good airplane!
I still use my Edmund mount for a reason, its a dang good mount!

Robert

#19 budman1961

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:19 PM

Ahh, good memories of Edmund. I remember when they brought the Astroscan 2001 to market, but it had no name. The announced a contest, and the winning name submission would win the cope, and the name would stick. My submission was "Star Jar"......needless to say, it didnt win.

They had the coolest little aluminum disks that you clicked the center in, and laid it on a counter.....the aluminum contracted and PING..the little disk popped 3 feet into the air!

Good time!

Andy

#20 Topcat

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:00 PM

They had the coolest little aluminum disks that you clicked the center in, and laid it on a counter.....the aluminum contracted and PING..the little disk popped 3 feet into the air!

Good time!

Andy [/quote]

Wow........am I really this old? I remember those metallic jumping discs also..... If I remember correctly, you could get them with your company logo on them. I loved those things when I was a kid.

#21 terraclarke

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:33 PM

Did anybody ever order the giant weather balloon. The one in the catalog photograph that was a tall as the house it was next to :roflmao:

#22 terraclarke

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 05:12 PM

:roflmao: I did a few things like that. Way more fun to think about now than it was to do it then! Nawwwwwww!

#23 Topcat

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:58 AM

I was sort of fascinated by that weather balloon but never got one. I did mine that catalog for more than one grade school science project though. I think I still have a prism somewhere in my archives I got from them.

#24 tomharri

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:37 AM

Edmund has grown up just like we have. But you can still make your own astro gear from their stuff rather cheaply. I just ordered 3 BK7 ball lenses to make eyepieces. Gonna use cheap eyepiece housings we all have laying around. Now if only I can see the small parts to assemble, look they have magnifier head gear also!

#25 Ducky62

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:42 PM

I got a ceramic "super magnet" from Edmund when I was a kid. It was part of my treasure hunting arsenal.I used to go "fishing" with it off of bridges. I think I had visions of ditched crime weapons but as an adult you can imagine the rusty junk I actually reeled in. It was a lot of fun. I was working not too far from the old New Jersey store in the early 1990s. I made the pilgrimage and spent hours in there, bought a sack full of cheap science toys for a few bucks and fulfilled my childhood dream of looking through the Jap periscope.


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