Disassembly complete: Heathkit is no more - The Herald Palladium : Local News

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Disassembly complete: Heathkit is no more

The St. Joseph Township company that delighted hobbyists for decades and at one time employed up to 1,800 people locally is selling off what’s left

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Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 6:00 am

ST. JOSEPH — The remnants of a once-proud company with a long history in the Twin Cities are now on the auction block.

Owner Don Desrochers confirmed this week that Heathkit is dead.

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  • TomSanderson posted at 10:51 am on Tue, May 28, 2013.

    TomSanderson Posts: 1

    It's not possible, in the space of one comment, to bring forth the historical importance of Heathkits or the Heath Company. They inspired countless thousands of young people, myself included, to pursue technology, the understanding of it and the desire to try to extend it. It's entirely arguable that the curiosity, which they sparked in others, eventually led to the improvements in electronic component packaging and assembly; improvements which eventually eliminated Heath's cost-competitive edge of taking away older assembly costs and transferring those tasks to customers. As a ham, I still have Heathkit equipment from the 70s and it still functions just fine. Someone (identity as yet unknown) has purchased the Heath and Heathkit trademarks and, lately, has been floating around survey questions regarding the potential economic use of re-introducing Heathkits, no doubt with new investment capital. As much as I would love to see them rebound and reclaim a portion of the electronic applications market, particularly in amateur radio, I cannot yet fathom the cost structures that will allow that to happen, particularly when one considers the modern amateur radio gear coming out of China with such low commodity-level pricing. I keep the hope alive, but the task before the Heath owners is a daunting one for sure. Let's hope that they can find a profitable niche for Heathkits once again.

  • WN3DUG posted at 8:41 pm on Mon, Jul 30, 2012.

    WN3DUG Posts: 1

    I visited HeathKit's facility in St. Joesph, MI about 4 times, over the years, and built over 100 Kits of all kinds, including 4 - 21" Heath Color TVs and their Mini Bike (In the Living Room [smile].

    I think I built all of their CB and many of their Ham Rigs, too!

    Sure going to miss good old Heath Company and all their wonderful products!

    Long live the HeathKit name!


  • WB0KZB posted at 10:26 am on Mon, Jul 30, 2012.

    WB0KZB Posts: 1

    Heathkit (SK). Truly a sad day. Hopefully the memory of this great company can live on through the thousands of us that still have Heathkit equiptment on the air.

  • k3sun posted at 1:47 pm on Thu, Jul 26, 2012.

    k3sun Posts: 1

    What an absolute shame! Heathkit is in large part why I ended up pursuing a career in the electronics IC industry followed by a transition into the IT field. More than 50 years ago, starting at the age of about 10, I assembled well over 30 different kits including stereo systems, calculators, radios, test equipment, etc. It was a terrific way to learn the practical side of the electronics field and I am sure the experience helped me learn application priniciples while pursuing my degree in engineering. With the rapid pace of technological advances in electronics over the past 4 decades, it is not surprising that kit design and manufacturing would become challenging. I also remember when Heathkit decided to pursue the educational market more than the kit market and immediately thought it was a bad move. It's hard to believe that over 700,000 licensed American amateur radio operators could not provide a large enough market to sustain a kit-building venture like Heathkit. Its closure is truly sad for many![sad][sad][sad]

  • Zerber2 posted at 11:57 pm on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    Zerber2 Posts: 7

    I grew up helping my dad check parts against parts lists and watching him build Heathkits down in the basement in our house in South Bend before we ever moved up here. The one I remember most was an oscilloscope with a gray metal cabinet. I don't know that I ever knew what he used that scope for, but he never let go of it. I can still remember the smell of the flux and the solder. I miss that a lot.