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Heathkit comes back from the dead!

August 6, 2013

I don’t very often splurge on an exclamation point in an article title.  They seem excessive and overexcited to me.  But this is news that deserves one:

The Heath Company, makers of the great Heathkit® electronic kits that were widely popular in the 1970s, is still around.  They are currently reorganizing, and plan to resume making kits in the near future.

Their new website is (appropriately) at http://heathkit.com, though there isn’t much there at the moment.  There is a survey with which you can tell the company about your skills and interests in electronics and kit-building.  There’s also a FAQ which is virtually unreadable (the CSS specifies “font-size: 2”, making me think this may be intentional), but if you turn on “No Page Style” in your browser or copy the text into a text editor, all sorts of interesting facts come out.

They’re keeping the management team under wraps for now, but say that they are all avid kit-builders and DIYers with substantial experience as executives in high-tech companies.  They’re also all amateur radio operators, which is not too surprising given the importance of ham radio in their original product line.  They have not yet announced any target date for release of their new kits, asking for patience to ensure “every product we offer to be Heathkit® quality.”

A “Heathkit Insiders” group has been formed, which at the very least means you’ll get announcements from the company as it (and its products) develop.  You can join the group by taking the survey.

Long before the modern Maker movement, kit companies nourished an electronics enthusiast community of builders, hackers, and doers.  Heathkit® was the greatest of those.  Today we have other great options, like SparkFun, Adafruit, and Pololu.  But if the new Heath Company management can bring their old quality and enthusiasm to the modern world, they will be a very welcome addition to the community.

For more information, see the Wikipedia page (which is a little outdated now but mostly accurate), the Heathkit Virtual Museum, and of course the Heathkit web site.

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From → News, Opinion

3 Comments
  1. Their website is “wiped” of nothing but a stamp with a thought bubble. I found the survey, but you’d really have to look to find it!

  2. Under the stamp+thought bubble is a tiny link to the FAQ. They have cleaned up the CSS in their FAQ since my post though, making it actually legible. And the FAQ leads to the survey… but yes, it’s all pretty well hidden!

  3. Quality Guy permalink

    Electronic kits widely popular in the 1970s? You missed several decades of great kits!

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