[time-nuts] Obscure HP T/F instruments in ebay.fr

Bob Camp kb8tq at n1k.org
Fri Mar 20 07:47:51 EDT 2015


Look at the economics of a museum. Count the heads on the payroll.
Count the paying customers you see times the admission fee. 

At least around here most of them have a budget that looks like:

Costs: X
Money in from visitors: X/10
Money in from membership fees: X/5
Money from the gift shop: X/5

They either make up the difference:

1) From an endowment.
2) From government subsidies. 
3) From other activities (paid research etc).

It’s not just electronics that has an issue with this. It’s common in 
a lot of fields.   


> On Mar 20, 2015, at 1:33 AM, Bill Hawkins <bill at iaxs.net> wrote:
> There are worse things than breaking up a collection.
> The Baaken Museum of Electricity in Life, near Minneapolis had a
> wonderful series of devices that used electricity to examine or prolong
> life, or to extract money from suckers. About 20 years ago, someone felt
> that there wasn't enough traffic at the museum, so the interesting
> exhibits were removed and the museum dumbed down for children. A vampire
> might greet you at the door.
> It seems that modern business managers have no time for things that
> don't draw crowds or fly off the shelves. If a museum or business wants
> to serve a market niche, it must compete with the incessant blizzard of
> advertising from the companies that just have to grow. Combine that with
> such companies expectations of productivity, and no one has time to
> search for interesting museums, never mind go to national parks.
> I would have been fascinated by and supportive of the French HP museum,
> had I known about it. I did not even dream such a place existed, but it
> makes sense that it was in Europe. Amsterdam has a science museum that
> lifts children's interest rather than going down to the lowest level to
> draw more people.
> In regard to dumbing down, the movie "Idiocracy" seems predictive.
> Bill Hawkins
> P.S. The Pavek Museum of Broadcasting (radio) is still hanging on.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Van Baak
> Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2015 11:01 PM
>> If that is the case, then this stuff belongs to a museum and not on
> ebay. IMHO.
> Hi Attila ,
> I completely understand how you feel, but this happens all the time with
> niche collections. You just can't find a brick and mortar museum
> interested in taking all that inventory. How many people would travel to
> city X in country Y to see a collection of electronics made by company
> Z? So these collections tend to last only as long as the original
> pioneer behind them is active. Once they are gone, there's a good chance
> that it all ends up on eBay, scattered around the globe. At least it
> doesn't end up in recycling or the trash.
> Checking current vs. completed auctions for that seller, you'll note
> that a large number of the good or exotic items have already been sold.
> I noted that high value items like hp rubidium and cesium standards
> apparently never made it to eBay, suggesting some cherry picking
> occurred before the collection went out for bid.
> I once thought "HP should have their own museum". But then they split
> into Agilent, then Symmetricom bought out their T&F line, then they
> became Keysight, then Symmetricom became Microsemi. With these
> companies, there isn't strong technical, moral, or business
> justification to allocate office space and resources to host dusty
> museums that might only attract tens or hundreds of people a year. They
> are rightly focused on current and future products, leaving us bottom
> feeders and nostalgic historians to collect and display the old stuff in
> our own homes, or on the web.
> For me the greatest museum loss occurred when "The Time Museum" in
> Rockford, IL closed in 1999. This was the best collection of clocks in
> the world, 1500 pieces from an ancient Egyptian water clock to a vintage
> hydrogen maser and everything in between. But the heirs of the founder
> were not into Time or into Museums. So it went to a massive
> international auction (Sotheby's) and was scattered for all of time.
> /tvb
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