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Vendor Catalogues. Does Anyone Else Also Miss Them?

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#1 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 12:12 AM

It started when I was in the 8th grade. Somehow I got a copy of a "catalogue?" which promised 1001 things that you can get for free in the mail. And then I saw it in the magical book. Edmund Scientific Co, free catalogue just for requesting one in the mail. Not too long afterwards I came in the mail. The biggest, most beautiful thing that I had ever seen. When I say it was big I mean the amount of pages, the catalogue itself was only about 4.5" X 7", approx.

 

It was my portal to Astronomy nirvana. All those pictures and telescopes, eyepieces, cool things like weather balloons and even a balloon that when fully inflated looked just like a U.F.O. (flying saucer shape) and was big, 12-feet in diametre if I remember correctly.

 

From then on, every 6 months I sent off for a new Edmund's catalogue and any others that I could get by mail.

 

Now we have the Internet, thanks to D.A.R.P.A. and everyone has a website. But it's not the same. I miss having something tangible that I could hold and carry around and look at anytime that I wanted.

 

So...anyone else miss getting catalogues in the mail?

 

Please let me know. Clear skies!

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#2 4BINNI

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 12:23 AM

You bet I do!  And I sure wish I had kept all of those Edmund Scientific catalogues too!  Don't forget the Sears Christmas Wish Books.



#3 Sam Danigelis

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 02:18 AM

Yep, I'm old enough to fondly remember actual printed, paper catalogs. It started when I was young, maybe 5 years old back in '66 with the Sears and Penney's Christmas catalogs. Pages and pages of beautiful photos of toys, toys, toys! Of course, later came the Edmund Scientific, Cave Optical, University Optics catalogs. And A. Jaegers Optics, the hard core optical catalog for the D.I.Y. ATM. Great days!

#4 ButterFly

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 03:09 AM

Random flipping through catalogs was indeed a great source of ideas.  "I didn't know that existed" was pretty common, but at least there was some logical grouping of things together.  It was a little easier to find things.

 

The internet does help, but it is limited by the way it searches.  Pushing text terms and having it guess synonyms doesn't cut it sometimes.  Concept searching, rather than mere cold hard text searching, is still in its infancy.  When that takes off, I probably won't miss catalogs so much.  At the least, Amazon could update and improve its index.



#5 TOMDEY

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 03:16 AM

I bought stuff from those catalogs...    Tom

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#6 spereira

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 07:18 AM

Moving to Astro Art, Books, Websites & Other Media, for a better fit.

 

smp



#7 bobhen

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 08:00 AM

My 4, 3” 3-ring binders filled with astro equipment catalogs dating back to 1978. It’s still fun to look through these from time to time.

 

And, of course, I remember the Sears catalogs from the 60s with those refractors. One of which (the least expensive model) showed up under our Christmas tree in 1965. 

 

Although I don’t have one (I think they are like $25-$50 on ebay), I remember studying every word and image and then ordering from the Estes 1966 model rocket catalog.

 

HERE is a link to a download of the 1966 Estes catalog. A fun read for those who remember it. 

 

For the reader, there’s just something more personal about a catalog than there is with a webpage. For the seller, I know the internet has many advantages.

 

Bob

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Edited by bobhen, 05 August 2020 - 08:00 AM.

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#8 Starman1

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 10:59 AM

They're never coming back:

 

--they cost too much to mail

--they cost too much to print

--they are often obsolete the day they're printed

--there is damage to the environment in producing and using the inks to print

--there is damage to the environment in making the paper

--there is damage to the environment in delivering the raw materials to the printer and delivering the catalog to your house.

--there is damage to the environment when the catalog is discarded in the trash.

--current generations don't peruse catalogs--they use the internet to search for things.


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#9 KTAZ

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 11:01 AM

Nope.

 

They are just landfill material in my opinion.



#10 bobhen

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 01:41 PM

I don’t believe anyone thinks catalogues are coming back. We all understand the Internet’s advantages.

 

However, it’s fun ( and maybe historically important) to read some old catalogs and see what has evolved, what has come and gone and what companies have changed or disappeared over the past 60 years, and even how items were once advertised. In our fleeting digital environment, that might be much harder to do 60-years from now.

 

A lot of the catalogues had more information in them than do many webpages.

 

Bob


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#11 BrettG

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 03:28 PM

I don’t believe anyone thinks catalogues are coming back. We all understand the Internet’s advantages.

 

 

Bob

Tell that to LL Bean who seem to insist on sending me 2 catalogs a month.  :)


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#12 bobhen

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 05:47 PM

Tell that to LL Bean who seem to insist on sending me 2 catalogs a month.  smile.gif

Come to think of it I just got a huge catalog from B&H Photo. But certainly, in "most cases", the internet has replaced catalogs.

 

Bob


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#13 Alan French

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 05:54 PM

Like fat catalogs? Buy something from Uline.


Edited by Alan French, 05 August 2020 - 05:56 PM.

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#14 Codbear

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 08:00 PM

My 4, 3” 3-ring binders filled with astro equipment catalogs dating back to 1978. It’s still fun to look through these from time to time.

 

And, of course, I remember the Sears catalogs from the 60s with those refractors. One of which (the least expensive model) showed up under our Christmas tree in 1965. 

 

Although I don’t have one (I think they are like $25-$50 on ebay), I remember studying every word and image and then ordering from the Estes 1966 model rocket catalog.

 

HERE is a link to a download of the 1966 Estes catalog. A fun read for those who remember it. 

 

For the reader, there’s just something more personal about a catalog than there is with a webpage. For the seller, I know the internet has many advantages.

 

Bob

Bob, Thanks for the drive down memory lane!

 

I wish I had the foresight to keep some of those old catalogs, not to mention my Edmund 4 1/4", homemade 10" dob and Criterion Dynascope (well...on second thought. lol.gif ).

 

Sam


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#15 BrettG

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 08:49 AM

Come to think of it I just got a huge catalog from B&H Photo. But certainly, in "most cases", the internet has replaced catalogs.

 

Bob

I've only bought online from LL Bean - I get WHY they send catalogs - so they stay at the top of the brain - I just wish they didn't.  shrug.gif



#16 jerobe

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 09:17 AM

Like fat catalogs? Buy something from Uline.

Out of the blue, Uline sent me a catalog a couple of years ago. I kept the catalog and enjoy looking through it just to see their huge range of equipment and material handling stuff.  There are things in that catalog that I didn't even know were made.



#17 John Carlini

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 10:57 AM

Pre-Internet was an interesting time with mail order catalogs and longer waits for orders to process. I miss the excitement of getting and looking through catalogs but don't miss the delay and lack of email confirmation. Most astronomical vendors have phased out hard-copy catalogs. Orion, one of the last holdouts, stopped mailing catalogs in 2017. However, not all retail vendors have stopped sending catalogs. Ham radio companies are still sending them out to an older customer base, who probably prefer the hard copy...



#18 George N

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 12:23 PM

If you go to NEAF -- bring along a bag or two -- because most (all?) of the equipment maker exhibitors have nice glossy hand-outs describing their latest offerings.



#19 GUS.K

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 05:27 PM

They bring back memories from my astronomical youth back in the early eighties. I had the Celestron catalogue circa 1982 and was enthralled by the orange tubed scopes and the images that littered the pages. The catalogue is long gone but I can still vividly remember the images and pictures of the scopes and the dreams I had of owning one and seeing some of the things that were imaged through them. 



#20 ianatcn

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 01:46 PM

Skywatcher and Vixen catalogues still available in UK, certainly up until last year.

 

When I was at school I sent off for telescope manufacturers catalogues and as well as the great pictures of instruments they contained a lot of valuable information on choosing telescopes and accessories.  Fullerscopes, Charles Frank Ltd and Astronomical Equipment Ltd were three of my favourites. Even one man bands like Ron Irving were producing a catalogue. At some stage I sent for an early Questar catalogue after my father brought home a copy of Scientific American where the Q3.5 was illustrated.

 

Now if you want a paper copy it is easy enough to create your own custom catalogue printing web pages.  

 

I forgot to mention I started sending for catalogues back in the mid 1960's! 


Edited by ianatcn, 12 August 2020 - 04:17 PM.


#21 mwedel

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 11:48 PM

I miss having Orion catalogs around. I imagine I made them at least some sales by taking old Orion catalogs to star parties and offering them to people who were really eager to buy a telescope. 

 

Mid-80s Celestron catalogs are straight-up time machines for me.

 

I know why catalogs have gone and aren't coming back (L.L Bean excepted...), but I do miss them.



#22 smithrrlyr

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Posted 26 August 2020 - 02:34 AM

I do miss those printed catalogs, but what I may actually be missing is my vanished youth.  Getting a paper catalog today would not really be the same as when I received one at the age of fifteen (so many years ago!).  I can't imagine that I would today read and reread the catalog with the intensity that I did then.


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