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Thread: "Where are they now" - computer/electronics catalogs you used to get

  1. #1

    Default "Where are they now" - computer/electronics catalogs you used to get

    Remember those computer and electronics catalogs you used to get in the '80s and '90s, probably as a result of filling out and sending in a "reader service card" from a magazine? I did some research to find out what happened to the ones I remember...

    Altex Electronics - still in business

    CDW - still in business

    CompuAdd - went bankrupt in 1993

    DAK - went bankrupt in 1994, but resurrected in the 2000s

    Damark - ended its catalog business in 2000, and devolved into a shady telemarketing firm

    Elek-Tek - bought out by PC Mall in 1997; went bankrupt in 2006

    Global Computer Supplies - still in business; changed its corporate name to Systemax, and now its product line is the same as Systemax-owned TigerDirect

    Heathkit - stopped selling kits in 1992; filed for bankruptcy in 2012; restructured in 2013 and announced plans to resume selling electronic kits, but that hasn't happened yet

    Inmac - sold to MicroWarehouse in 2006 (see below)

    Insight - still in business, but now is an "IT solutions" company, no longer in retail sales

    JDR Microdevices - still in business (now "JDR Computer Products")

    Jameco - still in business

    Mac Mall - still in business

    MicroWarehouse / MacWarehouse - went bankrupt and bought out by CDW in 2003

    PC Mall - is now PCM, an "IT solutions" company, no longer in retail sales

    TigerDirect - bought out by Systemax in 1995; still in business

  2. #2
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    "Egghead Software", "OnSale", "Surplus Direct"...the list is pretty long.

  3. #3
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    I used to like Treasure Chest Computers catalog, Insight purchased them in 1988.

    Staring at a Crutchfield catalog from Winter/Spring 2000 if car stereo home audio counts, still around online.
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
    Boxed apps and games for the above systems
    Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unknown_K View Post
    Staring at a Crutchfield catalog from Winter/Spring 2000 if car stereo home audio counts, still around online.
    Crutchfield actually sold Sony Vaio computers for a while, to go along with the rest of Sony's audio/video product lineup. And they still distribute catalogs, although these days they're just a brief highlight of the newest and fanciest products, only about 20 pages long.

  5. #5
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    Car stereo companies remind me of Computer manufacturers, major consolidations over the years. So many brands that are long dead.

    Anyway the best thing I ever got from Crutchfield was a screw driver kit where the head was at 90 degrees (if you ever worked inside a car trunk it comes in handy).

    Those old printed catalogs are great for showing what was around (with quite a bit of specs and information) a decade or more ago. These days it's much easier to get information online but once those companies fold they take their websites to the grave with them and all that info is lost. Even companies that stick around tend to dump any information about older products especially if they never sold that well.
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
    Boxed apps and games for the above systems
    Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

  6. #6

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    Recently I was given, the only person who expressed interest, a pile of old data books. But of more interest amongst them were the half dozen or so distributer catalogues from the 70s and 80s, UK based. They had lots of pinout and other data on all sorts of devices, mostly long gone.

    In the UK we had RS Components, still around but they have lost the idea that the catalogue sells. Also have CPC and they fortunately still do a 3700 page catalogue. RS also sent out a CD ROM version of their catalogue in the 80s and 90s, still got most of them. Did ask them if they objected to them being put on line but no reply. I do find that irritating, it is no skin off their nose and there is all the kudos.

    What about Action Computer Supplies? Used to look forward to their catalogue and the end of line sell offs, bought lots of them!

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Tiger Direct just announced they are going web sales only, so closing all stores. Here in Dallas the stores are 1/2 empty already, and only did marginal sales (about 10-15% off list).

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by vwestlife View Post
    Crutchfield actually sold Sony Vaio computers for a while, to go along with the rest of Sony's audio/video product lineup. And they still distribute catalogs, although these days they're just a brief highlight of the newest and fanciest products, only about 20 pages long.
    I'm spoiled enough to live near one of their retail stores. Long before that, for a period of time, they actually built and sold their own line of clone computers...early-ish 486's as I recall. What was really interesting about them is that they offered a system in black - long, long before it became anything resembling common. From 96-2000, I worked for a local computer shop...one of the owners worked for Crutchfield back in the days when they were building those machines, I think he may have been one of those putting them together...he was also a Radio Shack manager for a while. My most interesting run-in with one of their machines was when a customer brought one in after a flood. It had been in their basement on the floor (a minitower) and was totally submerged. New power supply, floppy drives (black just wasn't available - so they got white replacements), and CPU fan...along with some time spent scrubbing the mud off the motherboard in the sink with a toothbrush...and it was back working good as new.

    I'm disappointed with their new catalogs...but I guess I'm one of the few that wants to look at a nice chart of specs, features, prices, etc...

    Wesley

  9. #9

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    I just recently came across a 1986 Heathkit catalog that somehow managed to survive 29 years of moves and life. I scanned it for posterity:
    http://planemo.org/retro/downloads/z...ions/Catalogs/

    Eric

  10. #10

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    2019 update:

    Quote Originally Posted by vwestlife View Post
    DAK - went bankrupt in 1994, but resurrected in the 2000s
    Drew Kaplan retired a few years ago, and the site isn't quite the same without his long writeups weaving his personal adventures into the ad pitch for each item.

    Global Computer Supplies - still in business; changed its corporate name to Systemax, and now its product line is the same as Systemax-owned TigerDirect
    Now Global Industrial, specializing in computer desks and workstations.

    Heathkit - stopped selling kits in 1992; filed for bankruptcy in 2012; restructured in 2013 and announced plans to resume selling electronic kits, but that hasn't happened yet
    Now back in business selling kits:
    https://shop.heathkit.com/shop

    As for the aforementioned Egghead Software, they went bankrupt in 2001 and its assets were aquired by Amazon. And pretty much all of the other former brick-and-mortar computer software/video game stores ended up being bought out by GameStop, which is now on shaky financial ground and has announced closures of hundreds of stores:


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