“Clutter, a free spirit, and a have-fun attitude leads to real creativity” – Bronson Potter
When I was about ten I developed an interest in electronics. I would take apart old radios and try to understand how it worked. Later I bought an electronics kit that had schematicsfor several different projects. This was a time before integrated circuits and transistors, so the kit consisted of tubes and discrete components. It wasn’t very safe either since it operated on line current. It was a way to learn how to solder and learn some basic electronics. Later I moved on to a company called Heathkit that sold kits for everything from amplifiers to a digital computer (with vacuum tubes). I built amplifiers, a VTVM, and an AM/FM tuner.
These kits would arrive in a box with a chassis, bags of parts and very precise instructions. Soldering tube sockets was a royal pain and the instructions would tell you when to apply solder since each lug usually had multiple wires attached. The instructions contained illustrations showing how many wires should be attached to each lug. There were no printed circuit boards back then so everything was done with wires. It was tedious but back then I thought it was fun.
Later in the early 1970s I took an online course with the GI bill and built a Heathkit color television. It was an insane project and it cured me of any desire to ever use a soldering iron again. The damn thing worked but I didn’t want to spring for a cabinet, so it sat on a table with all the dangerous wiring and high voltage components exposed. It was the last model that was completely analog and required constant adjustment to keep the colors somewhat life like. Thankfully my young son didn’t get electrocuted as it sat on the table emitting X-rays.