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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Hi-Fi 1954

Hi-Fi 1954

My brother's do-it-yourself hi-fi. From Top: tweeter, woofer, Webcor portable phonograph, Heathkit amplifier. One of his high school buddies assembled the Heathkit for him. He took this in the upstairs bedroom we shared until a year or so later. That's my bed on the right. Check out our cool wallpaper. View full size.

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Shortwave radio

For one Christmas in the early 60's my folks got me a Heathkit shortwave receiver kit. This was back when FM was still unheard of I think. Dad and I spent about an hour or two each night for what seemed forever building it. We had built an oscilloscope prior to that. I don't ever recall what we used the scope for though it stayed with the family for decades and finally found a dumpster just after Dad's passing in 2000. The radio was fantastic though. We strung a 50 foot antenna across the back yard and I remember listening to WLS (I think that was it) in Chicago at night. I used that receiver right up till I went in the army in 73.

[Wouldn't that be AM, not shortwave? As for FM broadcasting, there were hundreds of FM stations by the early 1950s. - Dave]


My father and I built 4 Heathkit televisions and numerous other kits. With a kit that large it took a bit of determination to troubleshoot a problem but Heathkit provided good tech support and if necessary would repair/build your kit if you had problems.

Heathkit Memories (Egads)

My dad built a Heathkit television, he started in the mid/late 70's. I'm pretty sure he never really finished it. I don't wish to knock Heathkit because it never really worked, but that could be because of Dad's skills.

Iit did work for a while, but not for long. At one point Dad decided it needed a remote control, so he built one.

Using an incredibly long highway of that rainbow wire strip, attached to a black plastic box with a metal face. It had two buttons, using that labeling tape - ON and the other OFF.

When I was 10 I thought it was pretty spiffy, really.


I can't begin to count how many Heathkits and Knight-Kits I built over the years. It's another lost art -- no one builds kits anymore. Electronic parts are so tiny these days you can barely see them, much less handle them. It's all done by machines.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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