Forums :: Resources :: Features :: Photo Gallery :: Vintage Radio Shows :: Archives :: Books
Support This Site: Contributors :: Advertise


It is currently Oct Thu 02, 2014 9:23 am


All times are UTC [ DST ]



Post New Topic Post Reply  [ 51 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Mon 11, 2011 11:08 pm 
Member

Joined: May Fri 29, 2009 4:35 am
Posts: 1475
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Hi guys. I mentioned this shop in another thread and rather than take it over I'll start a new one.

Back in the 80s, I had a good friend who was into restoring vintage military radios. I remember tagging along on a few trips to this shop on the nortside of Chicago. It was crammed with military surplus and restored vintage test equipment and radio gear. Lots of ham radio stuff too.

25 or so years later, long after I had forgotten about it, I was tipped off that it had closed and was invited to stop by and grab some Riders TV service manuals. I had no idea that so much other stuff was there. Or that it had been vandalized. Now much had already been removed by the guy who had spent days hauling of all the goodies. Still, I was able to find quite a bit. Mostly new and used tubes that were scattered everywhere.

Also, the contents of a shipping container were scattered all over the backyard. Keep in mind this was back in the dead of winter.

Image Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Here it is a few months later after all the snow had melted.
Image

Image


Here it is now. Everything is gone.
Image

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Mon 11, 2011 11:19 pm 
Member

Joined: Feb Thu 17, 2011 11:27 pm
Posts: 5955
Location: Long Island, N.Y.
Cool! I love ruins and treasure hunting! I can only imagine the sets that passed through that place through the years.
Stories like this always remind me of an old local radio repair shop I was in several times as a kid. This was as late as the early '80's! You went in and everywhere you looked were stacks of dusty original old radios. Consoles and tabletops. The owner just horded them in the front area. I remember clearly a '37 RCA 813K by the front door. I would love turning the weighted dials of the sets. It's was all gone a few years later.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Mon 11, 2011 11:57 pm 
Member

Joined: Nov Thu 11, 2010 6:03 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Pewaukee, WI
That is darn cool! 8) I wish I could find places like that to pick....

There are only so many of these places left so when we pick one we should do our utmost save everything we can even if it is only good for parts.

If you have any of the right type of junk from there that you want to dispose of you can PM me.

Tom C.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 12:58 am 
Member

Joined: Dec Thu 06, 2007 11:54 pm
Posts: 1399
Location: Hayward, California USA
As I posted in the projection TV topic:

bandersen wrote:
I can't speak for all repair shops, but I did pull these right off the shelves of one. They also had a few Sams, but mostly is was just the Riders.
Unfortunately, vandals had pretty well ransacked the place, so I don't have any good photos of the work area.

Wow, the Radio-TV Lab. That was an incredible place for years when it was in business, run by George Sopocko, WA9JEZ if I remember his call and name spelling right. My brother and I bought a bunch of parts and things from him in the late 70's to early 1980's. It was so full of neat old ham radio equipment and other devices, you had to carefully step around things to get anywhere in the store. He had a Predicta Pedestal in the window for several years, but I do not remember him having any really old TV sets at the time (though I would not have known to pay attention to color TVs then).

I moved from Chicago to California in 1984, and I do not remember if I ever returned to that store on any trips, nor did I know when it closed. It is sad to hear that it had a destructive end, rather than the glorious and respectful estate-sale-type auction and documentation that George's store (and his life) deserved.

So, this store just closed last winter? That would help explain why I never heard about it earlier. Now I really wish I had gone back there in recent years, since I got back into antique TV collecting. One of your older pictures seems to show a box full of tube shields; there must have been great quantities of good items there at the start. In that back yard, once a year George would have what he called a "mini-hamfest" where he would sell all kinds of surplus equipment and parts, ham radio magazines, etc.

_________________
Quote: (Antique TV collecting) always seemed to me to be a fringe hobby that only weirdos did.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 1:28 am 
Member

Joined: May Fri 29, 2009 4:35 am
Posts: 1475
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Ah yes, I remember George. I'm not sure exactly when it closed, but I think it was sometime before I got in there. As I understand it, there were several businesses involved. If you look close, you can see a sign in the window of the first picture - 3 stores for sale. I think one of them serviced vintage guitar amps.

I was able to save a fair amount, but far from everything. All that stuff exposed to the elements in the backyard was pretty much ruined.
Image

Image

Image

Lots of tubes for sure. I sent months sorting, cleaning and testing them. Note a single rare or valuable one in the lot :( A couple dud 01As, one good 83 and a good 47 I think were the best. At least I have a healthy supply of 5U4s and 6SN7s now.
Image

Image

Image

Image

I found a few Sams stashed in the basement that were for uncommon sets.
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 1:42 am 
Member

Joined: Nov Thu 11, 2010 6:03 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Pewaukee, WI
Nice haul! You saved a nice load of treasures from the dump, good job. :D

Tom C.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 1:48 am 
Member

Joined: May Fri 29, 2009 4:35 am
Posts: 1475
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Thanks! I've already restored two late 40s Motorola TVs and a Grunow 1191 radio using these parts :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 3:40 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Sep Thu 14, 2006 3:27 pm
Posts: 5743
Location: Carmel, Indiana
Image

I wonder if the owner had these to bottles as souvenirs or just hadn't gotten around to drinking them yet. Is Coke still sold in bottles in Chicago or has it all gone plastic and cans like it has here in Indy?

_________________
Michael Feldt
www.indianaradios.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 3:57 am 
Member

Joined: Sep Fri 07, 2007 2:27 am
Posts: 3507
Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
Thanks for posting the update Bob. I was going to head down early for the August meet in Willowbrook, and make one more attempt at recovering "goodies" from the heap out back, now I know not to waste my time.

Before Bob got in to see the remaining stuff that you see in his pictures, I got 11 van loads of parts, literature, service manuals, and all sorts of electronic junk out of there. Remember how cold Chicago was last December? I spent 17 days in that building, without heat, water, or lights. I was often working with a headlamp and gloves. The store had been trashed, all the parts and literature tossed about. I even used a snow shovel a few times to scoop up miscellaneous parts off the floor and into transport bins. And on my last day when Bob came for a look, there was still a lot of stuff that I didn't want to deal with. Thousands of old electronic magazines, thousands of used tubes, tons of miscellaneous hardware, transformers, wires, etc. But me and my aching back had enough!

Sometimes I look at the storage bin full of stuff I got from there and think how foolish I was. But at least I saved tons of it, which will eventually all get sorted and filtered back into the radio collecting community. I still have lots more sorting to do. My garage, living room, and dining room are full of bins and boxes of stuff. I thought for sure I'd be done months ago, but this job never seems to end. I'll try to post some pictures later showing my dining room and garage as they are now.

I wonder who got stuck with cleaning out the remaining mess? There was no way to get a bucket loader and dumpster inside the building.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 4:27 am 
Member

Joined: May Fri 29, 2009 4:35 am
Posts: 1475
Location: Chicago, IL USA
There were about a dozen coke bottles still full. I got the impression they were just forgotten over the years. I do still see coke in bottles now and then, but it's definitely not the norm.

I left plenty behind too. Used power transformers, chokes, huge power resistors etc. All the magazines too. I just don't have the room for that kind of stuff.

The last time I was there was about a month ago. The backyard was clean as a whistle. The was a lot of stuff piled in the alley though. Seems they didn't want to fork out for a dumpster. Mostly scrap wood, metal and broken glass. Scavengers were picking through even that. Maybe looking for any scrap of copper wire.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 5:33 am 
Member

Joined: Sep Fri 07, 2007 2:27 am
Posts: 3507
Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
Various pictures (March through July) of parts sorting going on in my house from the Radio/TV Lab salvage.

My dining room:
Image

Image


Hallway to the first floor guest bedroom:

Image


First floor guest bedroom:

Image


The kitchen:

Image


The living room:

Image


Image

Watch for me to appear on "Hoarders" next season.





.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 5:38 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3489
Location: Federalsburg, MD
Over the last couple years I cleaned out a TV shop that had been around for 50 years. I'll never forget it! Pickup load after pickup load I carried home. Just when I thought I was almost done, I found more stuff. I don't have nearly as much stuff piled up at home as wisco, but some corners around here are pretty close! 95% of it would have been landfill by now. Are we all knocking on doors, saving this stuff while it still exists?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 6:06 am 
Member

Joined: Sep Fri 07, 2007 2:27 am
Posts: 3507
Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
Some views of more of the Radio/TV Lab salvage stuff in my garage. In the first picture I am sorting mixed inventory into cartons of similar items.

In total I brought home around 260 cartons of parts, 90 crates of service literature, 30 grocery bags full of books and magazines, over 80 round scope CRT's, thousands of tubes, lots of service equipment, stereo components, radios, TVs, parts chassis, antennas, and miscellaneous. There are still another 60 or so cartons at a rented storage bin with my other old car, a 1967 Dodge Coronet 440. You can see part of my '57 Chevy hiding in this garage. The Chevy is up for sale. As you can see I have no room for it!


Image

Image

Image

Image

Image





.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 6:45 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 15380
Location: SoCal, 91387
Umm, so what will you do with all this stuff?

_________________
*******\\\\\\\\\******He Who Dies With The Most Radios Wins******/////////*******


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 1:58 pm 
Member

Joined: Sep Fri 07, 2007 2:27 am
Posts: 3507
Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
fifties wrote:
Umm, so what will you do with all this stuff?



I had to buy salvage rights to the whole store to get what I wanted out of it. There was no quick way to do a selective treasure hunt, the store was such a mess. What I saw and wanted represented about 5% of the total. I'll fully stock my parts bins, fill in some gaps in my service files, keep the early TV parts as I collect mainly TVs now, keep some of the more interesting projects, and all the rest will get sold or given away.

I'll sell through here, Craigslist, eBay, all the Midwest area radio meets. With some help I may set up a website to list and picture the inventory and then take offers on whatever people want out of it. A lot will be given away to friends in the hobby and donated to clubs for their donation auctions. Bulk lots of items that I have no interest in will be up for grabs for anyone willing to head to NE Wisconsin to come make offers on. I may schedule a few rummage sales for the radio collectors to come, browse, and select whatever they want in smaller quantities. That all probably won't happen until next spring, once it is all sorted and organized.

My main reasons for buying this were twofold. Firstly, it was all headed for the landfill. I didn't want to see all this stuff go that way. Once gone, it's gone forever. Secondly, the price I had to pay to get salvage rights for what I wanted allowed me to take as little or as much as I wanted to. The more I dug, the more I saw stuff that other people could use. I felt an obligation to save and share this with others.

The price to buy the salvage rights was really cheap, but the motels, 11 round trips at over 200 miles each, the wear and tear on my back, and my time all add up to a more significant investment in this stuff.

If I had to do it all over again, I'm not sure that I would. I'd probably spend 3 or 4 days digging through the piles grabbing everything I wanted, and then have an open house for the other collectors to grab all they wanted at a per day fee. That would have saved me from spending all this time sorting it and turning my house into a disaster area. The thing that pretty much prevented me from doing that this time was that the building was supposedly under foreclosure, and I never knew if the next day the store would be locked with no more access. I had to scramble to salvage what I could quickly.

EDIT: The part above that read " 11 round trips at over 200 miles each " should have been: " 11 round trips at over 200 miles each way ".

.


Last edited by wiscojim on Oct Wed 09, 2013 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 3:15 pm 
Member

Joined: Aug Mon 16, 2010 6:58 pm
Posts: 172
Location: Madison, WI
Wow, amazing pictures and story! Thanks Bob and Jim for documenting this piece of history. I certainly remember George as I also grew up in Chicago. His prices on ham gear were always a bit ridiculous. I'm not sure he ever sold much of anything, he just kept acquiring more! It was nearly impossible to walk through his store, it was packed so tight. He also went to all the area ham fests as a buyer. I remember him making low ball offers on stuff I was selling. I heard that he had passed away several years ago. I'm surprised to learn that the store and a lot of its contents stuck around much longer.

And wiscojim, you certainly deserve a medal for extraordinary effort for salvaging all that radio/TV history! Good luck sorting it all out and getting your house back to normal :)

-Clark


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 8:21 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3613
Location: Bolingbrook, IL
I remember George as far back as the 60's and he alwasy was a character / hoarder.

At one time you had to walk sidways down every aisle.

I am surprised that it sold for picking unless his family just didnt want to deal with it.

George was active until the very end.

_________________
Art's Antique Radio Collection - A work in progress

http://www.myantiqueradio.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 9:52 pm 
Member

Joined: Sep Fri 07, 2007 2:27 am
Posts: 3507
Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
Clark, K9OA wrote:
And wiscojim, you certainly deserve a medal for extraordinary effort for salvaging all that radio/TV history! Good luck sorting it all out and getting your house back to normal :)

-Clark



Thanks Clark!


.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Tue 12, 2011 10:16 pm 
Member

Joined: Sep Fri 07, 2007 2:27 am
Posts: 3507
Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
oldradio99 wrote:
I remember George as far back as the 60's and he alwasy was a character / hoarder.

At one time you had to walk sidways down every aisle.

I am surprised that it sold for picking unless his family just didnt want to deal with it.

George was active until the very end.



George hoarded a lot of stuff into this store and into its basements. George also had an unsuccessful "liquidation sale" at the time he closed the store in 1998. I think he sold the contents to Elite Audio and/or Triode Electronics that occupied the building after he left, so I doubt the family had anything to do with it more recently. Both of those businesses must not have thought much of the old TV/radio stuff, as they left it behind when they departed. Triode still has a good presence on their web site, I have no idea what happened to the Elite Audio business. For all I know, they could both have been names used by the same business. Triode was apparently into stuff like rebuild kits for Dynaco amps.

I bought the salvage rights from an eBayer who previously purchased the rights and had already taken out what he wanted. I would have liked to have seen all that he got before me.

The way I found out about the store's contents was through this eBay seller. I won one of his auctions, and when I went down to pick up the winnings, our conversation led to where he got them. A few days later we met at the store and struck a mutually satisfying deal.

I invited Bob down for a look on my last day in there because I always enjoy reading his TV posts and watching his videos, and I knew he lived in the general area where the store was located. I'm glad he was able to retrieve some interesting stuff out of the remaining mess.



.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: TV - Radio repair shop in Chicago
PostPosted: Jul Wed 13, 2011 2:08 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3613
Location: Bolingbrook, IL
Where does the time go?

It is hard to believe that the business closed in 1998 - 13 years ago.

Seems like just 2-3 years ago I saw George at Radiofest with his straw hat.

I must be getting old.

_________________
Art's Antique Radio Collection - A work in progress

http://www.myantiqueradio.com


Top
 Profile  
 
Post New Topic Post Reply  [ 51 posts ]  Moderators: Mr. Detrola, 7jp4-guy Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Johnnysan and 2 guests



Search for:
Jump to:  



















Privacy Policy :: Powered by phpBB