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Old 23rd April 2010, 01:31 AM   #1
lowpoke is offline lowpoke  Australia
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Default The smell of vintage electronics

Every morning when I open my office door, I take a deep breath in and enjoy the wonderful aroma of vintage electronics.

It's just dawned on me however, that I don't actually know what that smell is ... and whether it may actually be doing me harm as I sit in my office all day with a dozen or so vintage amps and tuners.

I can definitely smell it every morning when I walk into my office though, quite pleasant and unseemingly dangerous ... BUT WHAT IS IT I CAN SMELL?!?

(These are all solid state components built in the seventies, Sansui, Mitsubishi, Dynaco etc., nothing older than early seventies and nothing newer than early eighties.)

Should I be mindful of this or am I just being paranoid?
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Old 23rd April 2010, 01:46 AM   #2
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Probably the smell of the circuit boards that were made of a burnt paper/plastic material. They always had a specific odor. Modern fiberglass boards did not become common in consumer stuff until the middle 70's or even later.
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Old 23rd April 2010, 02:12 AM   #3
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hot dust and ozone...
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Old 23rd April 2010, 08:28 PM   #4
jlsem is offline jlsem  United States
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Phenolic resin.
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Old 23rd April 2010, 09:24 PM   #5
mobyd is offline mobyd  New Zealand
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Back in the '70s /80s there were lots of electronic surplus barns (Mike Quinn etc) scattered around the SF Bay area. They all had this lovely smell of old aircraft.
Never did work out what the smell was. Sadly they all seem to have gone the way of the 8 track cartridge.
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Old 24th April 2010, 09:32 PM   #6
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobyd View Post
this lovely smell of old aircraft.
Oh yeah... you're right!

Whatever that smell, I love it. Grew up with it, so it seems comforting to me.
But it may not be just one smell. I recently bought a pair of Altec A7s. The insides of the cabinets had a "vintage" smell. Not mold or mildew but something from the past. No quite the old amp smell, but similar. Vintage paint? Lead?

Man, if I could bottle that smell there would be a lot of old geezers like us who would buy it.
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Old 25th April 2010, 10:29 PM   #7
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I noticed a lot of vintage electronics from pawn shops smell a little like adult book stores for some reason.
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Old 6th May 2010, 12:33 AM   #8
Glowbug is offline Glowbug  United States
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Smells like victory.
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Old 6th May 2010, 12:33 AM   #9
Glowbug is offline Glowbug  United States
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Or teen spirit, either/or.
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Old 6th May 2010, 03:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7n7is View Post
I noticed a lot of vintage electronics from pawn shops smell a little like adult book stores for some reason.
Familiarity breeds contempt?

I think it's phenolics AND cigarettes. I lit up a HP 5245L (nixie counter) and immediately recalled the factory i worked in as a teen.

When you light up vintage ham radio equipment it never seems to quite rid itself of the nicotine -- and that's not the worst thing in the universe.
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