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Brimfield Antique Show: Vintage Tech

We were out at Brimfield in July for their giant antique show. We planned to do the same this past Thursday for the start of the Fall show, but the torrential rain changed our plans. The skies finally cleared on Saturday. We left Boston before 8 AM, had breakfast at a diner on the edge of town, and made it to the show before the crowd.

All the rain definitely had an impact, both on the number of vendors and the overall attendance at the show. Many parts of the fields were still soggy and walking around was sloppy at times. Fortunately, the weather for antiquing was perfect on Saturday (sunny, cool, dry) and attendess did start to show around lunch time. One of the benefits of a smaller crowd was that it was easier to get around and to see more of the show. While we still didn’t manage to see everything, in the four hours that we were there, we saw at least twice as much as we had in our previous excursion.

Our recent acquisition of the nixie tube display inspired us to keep our eye out for interesting “antique tech” at the show. We were especially eager to find old compasses, sundials, and optically-related equipment.

We saw a lot of unique stuff, but it was difficult to know if any of it actually worked. So to keep us from going crazy, we implemented the $10 rule, which was, “No offers over $10.” Fortunately for us, due to the lower attendance, all of the vendors were REALLY eager to deal. We managed to talk most of the vendors down to our price point. When we could not, we passed. There were some items (United Airlines pet carrier, stainless steel bearings) we wished we could have purchased, but a rule is a rule. Next time, we may think of the rule as more of a guideline 🙂

Even with the $10 rule, we managed to aquire quite a few items. In our haul was a Wollensak Revere stereo lens and shutter assembly, a Craftsman micrometer with the original box, a box of Novel Anestube syringes, and four Hickok Electrical Instrument meters. All of the items are in good cosmetic and mechanical conditions. When we got back, we checked the guages with a multimeter and they were all fully functional. Not a bad outing!

We hope to incorporate these items in various DIY projects this Winter. We don’t know what yet, but we will think of something 🙂 The Revere lens is especially promising as both the aperture and shutter mechanisms work perfectly. We are going to do some research on the lens and see if we can find some specs to help us out.

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