Poem to a Machinery Pawnshop

There are at least three cable series currently chronicling the business life of pawn shops. What is the fascination with people borrowing against baubles or selling their junk to professional peddlers for rent money?

I get a kick out of these shows and their genteel predecessor, Antiques Road Show, because the used machine tool racket that I practice is a bastard cousin of the pawn shop. I’m dealing in esoteric machinery which could be fodder for the furnace, or somebody’s stake to a fortune in Turkey or Topeka.

But I’m not only a purveyor of oily, wreaking junktiques from the basements of defunct car making mausoleums. I have my own collections of metal skeletons that have no logical home. Who wants a stock reel for a 4-spindle Conomatic? Who covets orphan bearings for random spindles for who knows what machine that used to be made in a demolished factory in Vermont?

Somebody may want my crusty flotsam and Jetsam, but who buys the pawnbrokers crap? If I’m the supposed authority on machine tool dinosaur bones, who’s my pawnbroker?

Once I almost traded an Acme for a yellow Mercedes convertible. Should have done it. Dumb iron is just dumb iron, unless it’s got a Fanuc control.

Question: Would you have taken the yellow Mercedes convertible?

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5 thoughts on “Poem to a Machinery Pawnshop

  1. P Kan

    We have quite of bite of esoteric machinery on our plant floor. My Dad cant bear to part with it. He sees value in it all. I think I would have taken the Benz but my Dad would have been on your side!

  2. Buelldog

    Give a man a Mercedes, and he’ll have a single Mercedes. Give a man an ACME, and he’ll sell so many parts and make so much money that he can buy as many Mercedes as he wants.

    I’d take the ACME. However, if the Mercedes was silver, I might have a more difficult decision though…

  3. Bill Hopcraft

    I’ve got a ’91 Porsche Turbo and a few years ago I almost sold it in order to buy my first CNC mill. Sanity then prevailed and I found another way to finance the machine.

  4. Ray E.

    In mid 1990’s I actually traded a 1975 450-SL. Not yellow, but blue. I traded it for 5 machines, a 36″ Bullard Spiral Drive, a Cincinnati #2 T & C grinder, a 5″ or 6″ Cincinnati horizontal universal mill (Huge machine), and two other machines.
    Long story, i sold the entire package of machines in less than one week’s time for over $20,000.00. The car, very nice car and all, and I was so proud of the thing, was not worth anywhere near that kind of money. I was told, the man who traded me the machinery, also got quite a lot of money for the Mercedes from an importer in Italy.
    There is value in everything, just a matter of knowing your markets. I know machinery, the man knew cars.


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