Dave Bullock / eecue

photographer, engineering leader, nerd

Los Alamos Sales Company AKA The Black Hole

When I first moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1992 my dad worked for Los Alamos National Labratory in the ADP-4 dept coding old mainframes. He told me about, then took me to the most wonderful place I'd ever been...

I instantly fell in love as I am an avid junk collector. The black hole is an old supermarket, it's parking lot and the church next door along with it's parking lot (plus a house or tow a few miles away... which we once found a nice little disk (about 1 or 2 grams of weapons grade uranium! ) all filled up with piles of Lab suprlus.

See every first friday (or some day it's been a while) the Lab does somthing it calls salvage. Salvage is a silent auction where everybody gets a chance to inspect pallets of wonderful junk the lab no longer feels it needs. You can get anything from a pile of bolts to boxes of laser tubes. All for pennies on the thousands if not millions.

Over the years Ed Grothus has collected tons of salvage from the lab. Enough to fill the ailses in the store:

and the parking lot:

and the church next door:

so of course i want to spend all my free time here... being a 15 year old geek with a love for toys and technology.

so my pop asks ed if he's hiring and Ed hires me for good ol $5 an hour.... OR TRADE!!!! and he always gave me a great deal on trade (obviosly). The job was actually really fun.... i learned about all types of obscure high vacuum equipment, autoclaves, oscilliscopes etc. I played with broken electron microscopes (he had two of them) ... oh yeah the work.. well i got to tear apart alot of random scientific experiments and pull out the valuables: aluminum, gold, vandium and other rare valubale metals as well as all the components that could be resold. it was great fun and a great summer job.

the best part is that lab employees would come to Ed when they needed equipment fast. so in a sense our tax dollars were being spent twice on equipment that Ed kindly stored for the lab... isn't our country great!

i really miss Ed and although i've been through Los Alamos once or twice in the last five years i haven't seen him. I will be out in Albuquerque helping my mom move into her new condo during Thanksgiving so hopefully I will be able to visit Ed.

If i do i will take lots of pictures.

here are some good pages about Ed and the black hole: includeing a link or two to the Wired article that featured the black hole: