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a blog from Eli the Bearded
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White Elephant Sale

Every year I go to the Oakland (California) Museum White Elephant Sale. It's a one weekend per year giant thrift store occupying an entire warehouse. You can find a wide range of stuff there. I generally hit up only a few sections: toys and games, household, electrical, bric-a-brac, hardware, and books. My wife generally looks at clothes, linens (which section includes sewing supplies), bric-a-brac, and household.

This year, right off the bat, I found one of the more better scores of my many visits. In electrical was a large (bigger than a breadbox) wooden box marked "$10" and "Best Offer" and "TRANSFORMER REPAARE KIT / CIRCA 1930 / 10-30 / Rd / Ray". I'm guessing it was a transformer repair kit belonging to Ray, but now it appears to be a very nice box with a bunch of old electrical parts.

box closed

The box closed, just outside the warehouse.

box top

The box top open, showing the only (semi) intact part of the repair kit. The gauge is branded "REL" in a maple leaf and has markings like a multimeter. Top down to the maple leaf: Ohms infinity, 600 ... 0 (looks log scale); DC 0 to 250, 0 to 50, 0 to 10; AC 0 to 250, 0 to 50, 0 to 10; and lastly "2.5V AC ONLY" 0 to 2.5. Some of the buttons work like "radio" buttons, push one down and another pops up. The wiring on the back of this board appears to be missing, as is whatever was supposed to be in the center hole. Presumably probes pluged in the holes to either side of the gauge.

box top drawer

The box front panel removed, and top drawer open. Lots of parts. First compartment has an eraser, a sander for a Dremel-type tool, a spare knob, some resisters, 1/4" plug, and other stuff. Second compartment has a thing that looks like a giant square nut, but is unthreaded; giant resisters; a green choke; another spare knob; and miscellaneous. Third compartment has some switches, an envelope of small screws, giant resisters, another spare knob, a name tag (upside down), a tiny grinding tool in a brass sleeve, various loose screws and stuff. Fourth compartment has some small mirrors wrapped in paper and a bunch of 703A CRYSTAL UNIT things. Probably the crystals are radio related.

box middle drawer

The box front panel removed, and middle drawer open. Lots more parts. I identified a terminal strip, some boxy capacitors (two brown things), a test lamp, a few small black florescent bulbs, a motor that looks a couple of decades newer than other things, giant resisters, variable resisters, and assorted other small things. Oh, and two green painted pencils marked "Made in Australia".

box bottom drawer

The box front panel removed, and bottom drawer open. A few more parts. There are a pair of big alligator clips, some larger capacitors, a Western Electric gauge marked "MILLIAMPS D.C." scaled 0 to 1.0, several small transformers, a few complicated rotary switches, some variable resisters, florescent starter, and some random other stuff.

So, I love the box. A few of the parts (eg switches) I'm sure I could use. I don't know if the rest of it is worth anything to anybody.

Blue Moon Camera and Machine

Primarily a camera store, they also sell typewriters. The connection? An affection for old machines. Many used cameras, and not just the 35mm stuff you find everywhere. Large format. Subminature. Half-frame. 6x6. All that's missing is pictures of the cameras. (Flickr seems to have photos of every collectible camera, but sometimes those are hard to find among the pictures FROM the cameras.)