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Surplus Shed future in doubt.

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#1 Terra Nova

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 06:33 PM

My folks always told me, ‘nothing lasts forever’ and it seems more and more true the older I get. I’m sorry to tell you all that I very recently heard Fred Lamothe, the owner/manager of Surplus Shed is planning on retirIng at the end of this year. None of us are getting any younger and Fred is turning 80 and has decided to call it quits. He hopes to find a buyer to continue the business but who knows. Given all the sales he’s been having lately, the inventory reduction now makes sense. Anyway, I’m posting this news in our Classics forum because many of us have purchased lenses and other items from Surplus Shed to aid in our preservation/renovation projects and other optical endeavors. Also remember that Surplus Shed was the final dealer of a large stock of Jaegers lenses, most of which are now gone, and SS was also the inheritors of the Wollensak name and some of their lenses. No more Edmund/Anchor, no more Jaegers, and now the prospect of no more Surplus Shed is a sad state of affairs indeed. Most of us grew up buying all kinds of stuff from Edmund and Jaegers, and Anchor (now also gone) and Surplus Shed filled in the gaps for the next generation. I continued the trend and purchased alot of stuff from all of them over the years. I have several nice Wollensak 2” eyepieces that I use regularly, and I have other items that bare the Wollensak brand name, as well as a lot of other optics odds and ends that came from Surplus Shed. Anyway. Let’s all wish Fred well in his retirement and hope someone else buys Surplus Shed and continues the Wollensak name.


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#2 mdowns

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 07:03 PM

I hate to hear of this though such things seem inevitable.Like most, I have bought more than a few things from them,including my very last two Jaegers objectives.All the folks doing restores in the bino forum are going to be hit hard as well.I felt just the same when Jay decided to close down University Optics.If you tell me that skyline has stopped selling bowls of 5 way and 3 way dogs I'm jumpingdoah.gif.


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#3 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 07:25 PM

I'm sorry to hear this, because there is a real need for personal advice in the optical field.  Lately I've discovered EyepiecesEtc.com, and I've found that the owner, Don, besides being an extremely nice guy, has a wealth of information about eyepieces.  It turns out that he knew of a better eyepiece for my visual/EAA reflector (my fourth telescope, and given my age, the last) than the eyepiece I was considering.  He saved me from buying the wrong thing in fact.  We need more of this personal touch in our hobby.  It's the craft tradition.

 

At any rate I agree wholeheartedly, and we need to keep DIY alive.


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#4 Terra Nova

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 07:42 PM

I was sorry to see Anchor Optics fold a few years ago. They were the bargain-basement of the old Edmund Scientific and still sold lots of reasonably priced lenses, prisms, mirrors etc, as well as maintaining the Edmund Scientific Internet Archive with lots of of the old Sam Brown books and pamphlets in downloadable PDF files. I still get the big thick slick, colored, Edmund Optics catalogs, the size of the long gone Sears Christmas catalogs, but Edmund Optics has become a huge international corporation servicing military contracts and big budget research labs, so most of their stuff is priced far beyond amateur means. Surplus Shed filled a very important niche for us.

It’s a sad stat of affairs indeed! 😢


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#5 Starsareus

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 08:27 PM

Yet another sad day for those of us amateurs who make/fix rather than Buy.


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#6 Terra Nova

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 08:44 PM

Yet another sad day for those of us amateurs who make/fix rather than Buy.

Yet another reason for the CN powers that be to give us a [SAD] button.


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#7 Bowlerhat

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Posted 02 September 2021 - 12:36 AM

That's sad news. We should encourage people more to do DIY, servicing their own scopes, and utilizing classic scopes around..


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#8 clamchip

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Posted 02 September 2021 - 12:47 AM

The Sears candy counter, then the whole Sears store, wrinkle gray paint, Edmund Scientific, Anchor

Optical, Converse All Stars, and now Surplus Shedfrown.gif

Robert

There is a piece of good news though, Willmann Bell books is coming back:

https://aas.org/willbell


Edited by clamchip, 02 September 2021 - 12:53 AM.

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#9 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 02 September 2021 - 09:58 AM

I was sorry to see Anchor Optics fold a few years ago. They were the bargain-basement of the old Edmund Scientific and still sold lots of reasonably priced lenses, prisms, mirrors etc, as well as maintaining the Edmund Scientific Internet Archive with lots of of the old Sam Brown books and pamphlets in downloadable PDF files. I still get the big thick slick, colored, Edmund Optics catalogs, the size of the long gone Sears Christmas catalogs, but Edmund Optics has become a huge international corporation servicing military contracts and big budget research labs, so most of their stuff is priced far beyond amateur means. Surplus Shed filled a very important niche for us.

It’s a sad stat of affairs indeed!

I'm wondering whether the web site, Scientifics Online (SI), does not retain some of the optical and other items that Edmund used to sell.  For example, a few years ago I bought several Edmund pamphlets on astronomy from SI by Sam Brown and Terence Dickinson that are in perfect condition.  And yet I'm hearing that these are no longer available on this forum.  These pamphlets are very analogue and DIY, and they have charming illustrations.


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#10 RichA

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Posted 02 September 2021 - 10:07 AM

My folks always told me, ‘nothing lasts forever’ and it seems more and more true the older I get. I’m sorry to tell you all that I very recently heard Fred Lamothe, the owner/manager of Surplus Shed is planning on retirIng at the end of this year. None of us are getting any younger and Fred is turning 80 and has decided to call it quits. He hopes to find a buyer to continue the business but who knows. Given all the sales he’s been having lately, the inventory reduction now makes sense. Anyway, I’m posting this news in our Classics forum because many of us have purchased lenses and other items from Surplus Shed to aid in our preservation/renovation projects and other optical endeavors. Also remember that Surplus Shed was the final dealer of a large stock of Jaegers lenses, most of which are now gone, and SS was also the inheritors of the Wollensak name and some of their lenses. No more Edmund/Anchor, no more Jaegers, and now the prospect of no more Surplus Shed is a sad state of affairs indeed. Most of us grew up buying all kinds of stuff from Edmund and Jaegers, and Anchor (now also gone) and Surplus Shed filled in the gaps for the next generation. I continued the trend and purchased alot of stuff from all of them over the years. I have several nice Wollensak 2” eyepieces that I use regularly, and I have other items that bare the Wollensak brand name, as well as a lot of other optics odds and ends that came from Surplus Shed. Anyway. Let’s all wish Fred well in his retirement and hope someone else buys Surplus Shed and continues the Wollensak name.

Surplus, in many forms (army, electronics, etc) is in major decline and has been for years.  Much of what was once salvaged goes to China for recycling, army stuff is now destroyed at life's end by the government instead of sold-on and people are just not into hobbies the way they were 30-40 years ago, despite modest growth in some areas. 


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#11 Kasmos

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Posted 02 September 2021 - 02:03 PM

Surplus, in many forms (army, electronics, etc) is in major decline and has been for years.  Much of what was once salvaged goes to China for recycling, army stuff is now destroyed at life's end by the government instead of sold-on and people are just not into hobbies the way they were 30-40 years ago, despite modest growth in some areas. 

Pretty much what I was thinking. WWII surplus optics sure helped these companies get off the ground and fueled many ATMs and that's now a long long time ago. Plus the culture is very different than the post war days. Growing up, magazines like Popular Mechanics always had articles and drawings of build it yourself projects. Along with these companies folks like us are also fading away..... frown.gif


Edited by Kasmos, 02 September 2021 - 02:04 PM.

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#12 Don W

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Posted 02 September 2021 - 02:39 PM

I had heard that he was shutting down a couple of years ago.



#13 Toups

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Posted 02 September 2021 - 05:38 PM

There is another thread on this topic https://www.cloudyni...hed/?p=11329254 that started a bit earlier.


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#14 semlin

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Posted 02 September 2021 - 05:42 PM

it will be sorely missed.

 

as a binocular collector, surplus shed is just about the only source for old parts and especially for the ww2 binoculars which are often for sale intact but missing parts like eyeguards.  the ww2 era stuff is surprisingly compatible with early japanese stuff.  the eyeguards from a 6x30 military binocular fit nicely on early kowa 7x35 and similar.  i guess i will have to stock up on all the obscure stuff he has in case i need it.


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#15 grif 678

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Posted 05 September 2021 - 09:31 PM

Yes it is sad. Like Terra said, nothing last for ever, and the last few years has really proven that. Now the Surplus Shed, Gary Hand retiring couple years ago. It was very sad when Roger Tuthill left us also, he was really the astronomer's friend, selling you only what you needed. But I am glad that I have my old S&T magazines, so I can look at the ads of those that have gone or retired, and can feel like they are still around. If it were not for the classics, where would we be?


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#16 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 08 September 2021 - 08:30 AM

I actually purchased an 80mm F/4ish air-spaced, fully coated achromat from them to replace the original 80mm cemented F/3.8 lens in the Lumicon 80mm Superfinder with a 2" stellarview helical finder which would have acted as a rich-field finder/aux scope to complement my C5+. But that was before the great conflagration. I wonder how the two would have worked out together.

 

The replacment lens from Surplus Shed was just beautiful with a nice black lens cell and the coatings seemed quite decent from what I could see. What a shame, I'm very old school and loved places like A.J. Jaegers and the old Edmund Scientific. The ads for A.J. Jaeger's took up two whole pages in the old Sky and Telescope (this was pre-Astronomy magazine) and each years I would send away for my free updated Edmund Scientific Co. catalogue from Barrington, N.J. near the (can't remember the name) so-and-so turn-pike.

 

Places like these seemed almost magical to a young, newbie Amateur like me!

 

Clear skies and keep looking up!

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#17 BarabinoSr

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Posted 08 September 2021 - 05:00 PM

Hello Everyone ! Mel Dawson  and I obtained several  Jaegers objectives between us from Fred at Surplusshed.. Here are the scopes at the VSC- 1 constructed over the years. I've been a customer for years. In addition like Terra I too have bought several of the Wollensaks as well and I'm regretful that they may be shutting down. The first is a 4-inch f/8 , 4.5 inch( the one I used to take images of the sun during the  2012 Venusian Transit.), and the 4-inch f/15 refractors4 inch  A Jaegers refractor 008.jpg DSCF6275.JPG 4-inch Refractor.jpg . These scopes are all good instruments. Gary


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#18 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 09 September 2021 - 05:09 AM

Hello Everyone ! Mel Dawson  and I obtained several  Jaegers objectives between us from Fred at Surplusshed.. Here are the scopes at the VSC- 1 constructed over the years. I've been a customer for years. In addition like Terra I too have bought several of the Wollensaks as well and I'm regretful that they may be shutting down. The first is a 4-inch f/8 , 4.5 inch( the one I used to take images of the sun during the  2012 Venusian Transit.), and the 4-inch f/15 refractorsattachicon.gif4 inch A Jaegers refractor 008.jpgattachicon.gifDSCF6275.JPGattachicon.gif4-inch Refractor.jpg . These scopes are all good instruments. Gary

Thanks for the great post, love the pictures of the scopes!


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#19 Senex Bibax

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Posted 09 September 2021 - 07:30 AM

Surplus, in many forms (army, electronics, etc) is in major decline and has been for years.  Much of what was once salvaged goes to China for recycling, army stuff is now destroyed at life's end by the government instead of sold-on and people are just not into hobbies the way they were 30-40 years ago, despite modest growth in some areas. 

Or just "left behind"




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