Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Basement Treasures (A Time Machine)

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I'm finding things in the basement that bring back some memories. My dad used to work at ESCO (Electric Specialty Motors) in Stamford, CT. He started working there in his teens and in this picture from the 1930s he is using an old style soldering iron. These irons did not use electricity, consisted of a large chunk of copper held by an iron holder and were heated over a gas flame. My dad would use it at home for soldering projects, heating the iron over the gas flame of our water heater.

When I went to China in 1985 for Digital Equipment Company, I saw a similar iron being used to connect a VAX system directly to the power grid. They cut off the plug because they had no compatible sockets.

Dad soldering motors at Electric Specialty Motors in Stamford, CT - circa 1930
I still have the iron as well as a ladle for pouring lead sinkers. I wonder how much lead poisoning I was exposed to in my youth?

Remember when motor oil was sold in cans? I have a spigot that you would use to open the can as well as muffler clamp. The device on the right would clamp to your metal bumper to attach a tow hitch.

Roadside flares in various stages of decay. I need to light the one on the right as an experiment.

Tire repair kit. These never worked out for me because the patches always peeled off.  Inner tubes were fun in the pool.

Now for something completely different, a piston from a Russian Tank. Someone from work had this on his desk and gave it to me as a gift. I have no idea where he got it.

This is a serious alarm bell and it works! I wonder if it came from a bank?

These are serious nails. I used these to nail together railroad ties. The ,50 caliber shell is a dummy (I think).

A gift from an Indian co-worker. Adds some flare to the basement.

Old school doorbell with two solenoids. "Ding-Dong".


Car stalled? take out the vari-flare.

I got this meter when I built a television kit, I need to see if it still works.

I've had this for decades, maybe it is time to try it out. Stay tuned for an update.