Heathkit Folds

Many a pirate and legitimate broadcaster alike got their start building do-it-yourself electronics kits made by Heathkit. Simple low-powered transmitters and ham radios were particularly popular.

Alas, the company is no more.

The remnants of the company that once employed up to 1,800 people in St. Joseph Township, Mich., is now on the auction block, reports the Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph.

The company, down to half a dozen employees at the end, defaulted on its lease and filed for bankruptcy, owner Don Desrochers told the paper.

The company was last known as Heathkit Educational Systems. The business “was primarily dependant on federal and state funding for schools. Spending in education continued to drop down, and it was economically unfeasible to continue operating,” Desrochers told the Herald-Palladium.

Founded in 1926 as an aircraft company, Heathkit shifted its focus to electronics after World War II when it bought surplus electronic parts to build kits. Heathkit left the kit business in 1992, focusing on educational materials, then announced it was getting back into the kit business in 2011. However it was losing the educational business faster than it could grow the electronics business, which was not sustainable, according to Desrochers.


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I have a Heathkit Grid dippper and I built the famous Tube Voltmeter 1968, yes I built a few Heathkit rigs. SM7DLU
By Stephan Sundin on 8/2/2012
Gee, my first paid gig was building a Heathkit 'scope for a neighbor. I think it was 1966. I was all of 18, and had pimples. I miss my pimples.
By Duke & Banner on 8/1/2012
I built probably 100 Heathkits over the years including 3 color TV sets. Heath incorporated features into their kits that could be founf nowhere elas at any price. It was always a thrill to have a kit work the first time, but troubleshooting was easy if necessary. Most problems could be traced to cold solder joints or silly mistakes made by working on a kit when one was tired.
By John Bauer on 7/26/2012
It's too bad that Heathkit and it's era are gone. Many of us in engineering learned quite a bit from building a Heathkit or two. The pride in soldering the wires and PCB assemblies to form a finished product was always great. Times are changing to the point that in a few years Radio Shack won't even carry items like soldering irons. It's even getting hard to find parts at Fry's.
By Bill Ammons on 7/26/2012

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