Picture a field, next to horse stables. A field full of small market stalls. And loads of men, mostly of a certain age. And most important of all, loads of old stuff: radio receivers and transmitters, old tv’s, record players, tools, parts etcetera etcetera….. The smell of warm bakelite mixed with that of fresh grass.
The Electricity museum
Hoenderloo is a small village in the east of the Netherlands, in a wooded area just north of Arnhem. In Hoenderloo there is an Electricity museum. Volunteers run it and love to explain about the machines and equipment on exhibit. They are also happy to demonstrate their exhibits as many still work. They even have a replica of the very first power generator in the Netherlands. So a very nice living museum.
And twice every year, in june and august they organise the “Beurs Oude Techniek” (vintage technology fair). I try to visit one every year and find it always very enjoyable.
Their website, www.elektriciteitsmuseum.nl, is only in Dutch, I’m afraid.
To Hoenderloo we go, a long voyage
So on the 4th of june 2016 I went all the way to Hoenderloo, by public transport, which is no mean feat (by Dutch standards) as it takes about 2,5 hrs. And I had to leave very early on a Saturday, which I’d rather not do, to get there at a reasonable time.
Despite all that I looked forwards to the visit and wondered what I would pick up, as you can find the craziest things there. It is always a surprise what I end up with.
So, there I was, in a field, on a bright, sunny and balmy saturday morning, with about 50 market stalls full of various old equipment, tools, parts, books etc etc. The most by far is radio and hifi stuff, but you may also find old grammophones, parts for them, records, but anything involving electricity can basically be found; from light house lamps, to high voltage cables, to model trains to a simple old doorbell. And of course some telephone stuff, although not very much.
There is also a stall selling food and warm and cold drinks. This year to my great delight they even had croquettes (kroketten, a Dutch savory treat) in a bun.
Mostly elder gentlemen circle the stalls with semi professional and professional traders and hobbyists. Most of the visitors are retired and were trained or worked in the field of electronics. Many of them are happy to start a conversation on various technical subject and often they are quite knowledgable. Some have even brought their wife, to carry their bags with recent purchases. All in all there was a nice buzz of friendly conversations about old technology between, swapping stories, exchanging information.
There were also some younger gentlemen like me (46 years old) and I even spotten some teens with an interest in vintage electronics, who brought their dad along.
I had some coffee with telephone collector who I met earlier this year and had a promising conversation with somebody who traded in old catalogues (Always a very good source of information). I also met for the first time in the flesh with a telephone collector and restorer, with whom I had some limited contact through email in the past and of course had some spontanious conversations on various subjects with complete strangers. All in all I had a lovely day.
Like the other times that I visited this fair I went home with a bag of various purchases, see the picture I made of it.
Firstly there were two small signs with an ATEA logo. They are from a doorbell and name tag board from an apartment building with an intercom system. I bought them because of that logo. Also I found 2 nice shiny nickel plated telephone bells. These will come in handy.
A broken T65, with good plug, transmitter and receiver which I found in a box marked “for free”.
A wall version of the Heemaf 1955, which looked promising from a
collectors point of view. There was no PTT logo on the white button and there was no mesh over the sounding holes at the back. Normally they have a PTT logo without that mesh or they have no PTT logo but do have mesh over the sounding holes. When I got home and inspected it up close, I found tool marks on the white button and it was completely smooth. So it was a PTT version after all, but somebody removed the logo.
I also found a very shiny desk version of the Heemaf 1955, for a very low price.
Besides that there was a nice ATEA switch in perfect condition. I tipped a Belgian collector about it and got the sellers contact information.
Lost and found
Halfway through my journey home I noticed I did no longer have my jacket with me. I must have lost it somewhere between the fair and Utrecht Railway station, a bus and train ride later.
The jacket contained my passport, car key, access pass from work, and public transport chip card from work. A small disaster if they would not be found.
Luckily after some hours of emailing, searching the net, enquiring and filling in all kinds of e-forms on monday I learned my jacket had been found on the Krimhoeve (http://www.krimhoeve.nl/), the farm where the fair was held.
They were very helpfull and sent my jacket back to me by post immediately (thank you Gerlinde!)
, so after a couple of days I was reunited with it, contents and all. So a happy end to a lovely and interesting day.