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

Adrian Godwin artgodwin at gmail.com
Fri Mar 20 11:57:05 EDT 2015

This stuff is lovely, but it's enthusiast's equipment, not public or
commercial museums. There's a great computer museum in Paderborn, Germany -
it's owned by the founder of an ATM company. I love that it has, in
Germany, a really good exhibit about Bletchley Park.

There's a pinball machine museum in Arizona (I think). It burnt down
recently. Again, enthusiasts. Entrance money helps keep it going but it
wouldn't exist without the enthusiasts.

Here in the UK, there are steam museums. Probably elsewhere too.

I grabbed a couple of items from that french auction, fast enough that
there was no bidding war. I wish I'd had more  -  I could easily have
outspent myself but I can't move for stuff as it is. I'd be happy to lend
them to a testgear museum but I don't know of one, at least not in the UK.

The nearest thing I can think of is the Whipple Museum of the History of
Science in Cambridge, UK, which has a mixture of medical and scientific
gear - not really commercial testgear. For timenuts, there's also the Royal
Horological Society's museum which includes a speaking clock, but it's more
about timepiece makers than precision. Also the Harrison clock collection
at Greenwich observatory.

On Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 11:47 AM, Bob Camp <kb8tq at n1k.org> wrote:

> Hi
> 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.
> Bob
> > 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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