[conspire] Heathkit returns

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Sep 8 10:52:08 PDT 2011

Quoting Paul Zander (paulz at ieee.org):

> I know I am not the only one who built a lot of green boxes.

Wow.  I know I researched some of the firm's recent (and somewhat sad)
history, a few years back:

From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
Subject: Re: The blood that heals...
Newsgroups: sff.tv.battlestar-galactica
Organization: If you lived here, you'd be $HOME already.
User-Agent: tin/1.7.10-20050815 ("Grimsay") (UNIX) (Linux/2.4.27-2-686 (i686))
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 17:19:05 -0000

William Barton <spambot at williambarton.com> wrote:
> I've been admonished hereabouts not to expect anything scientific from
> BG, because "it's teevee!" But when it comes to the cylon pornography
> issue, I wouldn't mind having a Six Kit or a Sharon Kit. Is Heath
> still in business?

Replaced by an even worse Prime Minister in '75.  

Oh, _Heathkit_?  :->  No.  Zenith Radio Corporation (ZRC) bought Heath
Company, renamed it to Zenith Electronics Corporation (ZEC), and stopped
producing kits in 1991.  ZEC still exists, but does other things.

A spinoff called Heathkit Educational Systems (HES) inherited the
trademarks, copyrights, etc., and operates http://www.heathkit.com/.  No
more kits, though.

Anyhow, the test gear and ham equipment had a good reputation.  Heathkit
audio equipment, on the other hand, was pretty miserably bad, _and_
expensive, not counting the fact that you had to assemble it from the
smallest possible subassemblies.  Heck, even the legendary Dynaco gave
you circuit boards with the resistors, capacitors, and transistors or
tube sockets already expertly machine-soldered onto them.  

Still, Heath Company had a retail storefront for the Bay Area on the
southeast corner of Woodside Road and Middlefield Road, Redwood City,
that was a kid's joy as a place to go in and look at the wonders you
_could_ buy and build there -- and pick up their current catalogue.  It
turned into a Zenith-branded Heath store, and then nothing.  I believe
it's now some sort of automotive stereo place or something else
nondescript, and it makes me a bit sad every time I go by it.

www.heathkit.com now includes this text:

You The kit Builders have Spoken!

Thank you for your overwhelming response to our announcement that
Heathkit is back into the Do-it-Yourself kits business. We received many
great suggestions for kits you would like to build.

We will be releasing Garage Parking Assistant kit (GPA-100) in late
September and soon after the Wireless Swimming Pool Monitor kit will be

Based on your input, we are looking at developing amateur radio kits.
Our goal is to have kits available by the end of year.

Please keep your suggestions coming so that we can continue to bring you
interesting, unique Heathkit products.

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