I've called Boston home for a few years now, and have yet to discover a treasure trove of surplus parts, scrap metal, and "industrial junkyards". I've always been able to find at least one or two places to go searching for cheap materials regardless of where I've lived, but have yet to stumble across one here in MA.
Anyone in the Boston area (lets say within an hour or so) willing to share their favorite places to search for parts, materials, scrap, salvage on the cheap?
If you rather not share this with all of usenet, personal email at email@example.com is fine.
Hmm ... it has been many years since I was last there, but there used to be a place in Cambridge -- called "Eli's" (Eli Heffron and Sons), which had surplus electronics at the time. There was a certain amount of tools included in the collection of things. I have no idea whether he is still in business, and what he might be selling now if he is.
Later (still in the last century), I saw a (possibly related) ad for an "Eli's" which sold surplus computers. I don't know whether it was one of his sons which ran that, or whether he branched out or changed focus.
Please post what you find out about him -- I am curious.
It's the same place, they went all-computers when the supply of traditional electronic and electromechanical computer junk disappeared. I.e. no more mechanical line printers, 300 lb disk drives, tape drives.
I shopped there weekly 25 years ago, as a student down the road, fond memories of that era.
Not a yard, but you will occasionally find items of interest (even the occasional machine tool) at the MIT Flea, corner of Main & Albany St., Cambridge, every 3rd Sunday Apr-Oct. Go to their website and print a flier to save a buck at the door:
They also have a list of other (mostly ham/electronic) fleas in the area:
Polaroid Surplus occasionally has aluminum, if they haven't recently emptied their bin. At the "Space Buildings", Rte 44 in E. Taunton, now operated by MacDonald Moving and Storage, but the same guy works there. Bring a checkbook, they don't take cash for some items. Weird hours, I want to say Tu-W-Th 9-4?
And I would be remiss if I didn't put in a word for my favorite used tool guy, Al, over at the Tool Shed: The Tool Shed
578 W. Boylston St. (Rt. 12) Worcester, MA 01606 Store Number: (508)853-0590
W-Sat 1-5pm "Please Note: We do not mail or ship tools. We sell at the store only." (sorry, guys)
Also a branch started by the same guy in Waltham: The Tool Shed
471 Main Street Waltham, MA 02452 (781) 647-7970 Hours: 1 to 5 PM, W-Sat.
Both regularly have carpentry and mechanics tools as well as "bargain tables", the Worcester store has some machinist stuff, don't know if the Waltham one does or not (never been in it).
Not quite what you asked for (I keep wanting to know of more junkyards myself), but I hope it helps. --Glenn Lyford
The line printers and disk drives came after my time there. But I remember a series of racks of relays where he chopped the contacts out of every relay, to dissolve away everything but the gold. Personally, I would have paid more for the relays *with* the contacts than the value of the gold out of the individual relays. (I was doing a lot with relay logic at the time.)
I still have some of the other things which I picked up there -- some never used. :-)
A bit after me, then. I was around 1960 and a bit later. You sound like about 1978 or so -- by which time I was back in the Washington DC area, and already married. :-)
The folks that owned RPM tool in Cambridge are now operating a much smaller operation in Dracut, Ma (30 or so miles NW of Boston, next to Lowell). I go by there regularly, and occasionally buy something. Not much in the way of "surplus stuff" mostly used tools like drills, skil saws, hand tools, etc. Some machinist stuff, micrometers etc, but not a lot.
Really nice folks, though the wife (real character) has been quite ill lately.
If you are ever in the area, do go by and check them out.
I stumbled across a pretty good place on Rt 16 on the way to the airport one day. Its on the south side a few lights east of what used to be the rotary at wellington circle. Its just before a sunoco station, kind of a funky driveway on the left side of the building maybe with a forklift or two. There's a sign. If you pass gold's gym, you've gone a little too far. I'm not remembering the name but I believe its in everett around spring or vine street. He has a 2 floor warehouse full of stuff; metalworking, woodworking, some stock, old light fixtures etc. He generally knows what things are worth but has a pile of stuff.
I read some of the other replies to your post and Eli's in Cambridge has closed its retail shop, what remained of it anyway. I had been going there since the early 70's in jr high school...
I started going to Eli Heffron's in Cambridge circa '54 to scrounge for components for building audio systems. (That's monaural vacuum toob audio audio, guys, stereo hadn't entered the consumer market yet.)
We did play around a with some "binaural" audio on reel to reel tape, and my rich roomate even got one of those Cook binaural LP systems. The "recordings" were on 33-1/3 LPs with two tracks, one started at the outside and the other half way in. The tone arm had two independantly pivoted cartriges spaced apart the right distance. Worked pretty well as long as nothing jarred the player and made just one of the stylii jump to an adjacent groove.
Serendipitously, the place you described appears to be in Everett and Eli's was on Everett Avenue in Cambridge back then. I haven't visited Eli's much in the last twenty years; the era when his sons were running the place. Seems like every time I went there they had mostly computer related stuff which didn't reach out and grab me like the good old WWII "army surplus" electronics I remember Eli selling in those early daze.
I'll try finding the place you mentioned. Even if I don't locate it the trip will be worth it given that there's a great reasonably priced steak place (The Texas Roadhouse) and Beantown's first Krispy Kreme donut shop (opened late last year) within spittin' distance of the area you described.