About Me
I've had a wide range of interests in my 69+ years of life. As a life-long resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I've lived in one of Milwaukee's near north side suburbs, Whitefish Bay, most of my life. My parents moved here in 1951 when I was 4. I attended Cumberland grade school and graduated from Whitefish Bay High in 1966. After high school, I attended Milwaukee Area Technical College where I earned an Associate Degree in Applied Sciences; Electrical Technology-Computers. But due to extenuating circumstances, I was never able to follow technology in my professional life. In 1970 I joined the Wisconsin National Guard, where I served in "A" Battery, 1st Battalion, 126th Field Artillery for 6 years attaining the rank of Specialist 4th class. I received an Honorable discharge in 1976.

Shortly after graduation from MATC, my father had a severe heart attack. As the only adult son with any experience in the family business, I took over the operation for my father to keep the family business operating. Eventually I became the owner of my father's business, and I continued the successful operation of Joseph's Beauty Supply Company, until my retirement in 2008.

I have always had a passion for technology. When I was a toddler, my mother would take me to the hardware store, where I always headed for the electrical department. I would persuade her to buy me some electrical plugs and wires to play with. (but at this young age I never plugged anything in) As a teenager I would save my grass cutting money until I had enough to buy various "Knight Kits" from Allied Radio, or electronic parts from Olson Radio. When I would get a new kit, nothing could tear me away from my desire to get it assembled. I remember building a Knight Kit intercom as one of my very first projects. From there I moved on to bigger and better things. I built several stereo systems, always wanting something better than I already had. From a very early age I was collecting records, and then later on recording music from the FM radio on a Sony stereo reel to reel tape recorder. Eventually I started building large sound re-enforcement systems for my brother's various rock groups.

In 1965 my parents purchased the family's first Color Television set. A Zenith roundie in a nice early American cabinet. We kept the Philco black & white set right next to the new Zenith. We would watch the Philco as our "daily watcher" and when we saw the NBC Peacock come on the screen, we would switch off the Philco and turn on the Zenith Color set. Back then most all programming was still in B&W so it didn't make sense to be running the expensive color set for watching mostly B&W programs. During this same period I started tinkering with old used B&W sets that people had discarded. At this point I still did not understand the technical side of television, so most of the tinkering involved tube testing, at the local drug store where they had a U-test-M self service tester, and adjustment of basic rear controls. Sometimes I would get a set working and sometimes, if the tv had a circuitry problem, I would be out of luck.

In about 1967, I was attending MATC, and I was able to obtain a used RCA CTC4 color set. It was the Seville model. It wasn't working very well. I decided to replace all the capacitors with new Sprague Orange Drops. One by one I replaced them all, and soon the picture quality was improving. Little by little I learned what all the adjustments did and how they affected the picture. I was able to borrow a dot generator and practiced on the CTC4 learning how to make convergence adjustments. I was able to get that CTC4 to produce a wonderful picture and that set served me in my bedroom as my own personal color set for about 4 years. There weren't many people my age that had their own color tv in those days. In 1971 I got married and my wife convinced me we needed a newer color set with a modern rectangular tube. So I bought a Zenith with remote control, and sold the old fashioned round tube CTC4 to a needy friend of mine for $25. He watched the CTC4 for about 5 more years and ultimately sold the set to a local tv collector. I never found out who ended up with that set, so if you know of a TV collector in the Milwaukee area that acquired a CTC4 Seville, in about 1971 that had been re-capped with Sprague Orange Drop capacitors, please contact me. I would love to see my old set again.

In 1973 I attended a seminar for Pioneer Electronics technicians with a friend who was doing warrantee service for Pioneer. I was given the opportunity at that seminar to purchase a Pioneer stereo system for my personal use at 50% off the list price. I bought a top of the line everything Pioneer stereo system, and I still have it in operation to this day. It is one of my prized possessions, and has run flawlessly since the day I got it.

During the 70's I spent most of my time working hard to build a customer base for my wholesale beauty supply distribution company. I started printing a catalog. Eventually it grew into a 56 page piece of advertising that was mailed all over the country. I did all the photography, copy work, and press set ups, and even the printing on a MGD22 offset press that I purchased just for printing the catalogs. By the early 80's the business was growing and so I decided to move from a manual accounting system and make the jump to a computer system. After all I had a degree in computer sciences, and so it was a natural progression to computerize my business. I purchased a DEC PDP11/23 system, which eventually evolved into a large PDP 11/44 system, and over the years I wrote all my own business application software in a language called DBL. It was a lot of fun and I even built a point of sale system for our front counter retail store. The point of sale system even had voice synthesis long before it was available commercially from conventional computer vendors.

From about 1975 until 1999, I drifted away from electronics. I found other interests to keep my free time occupied. During this period I ran my wholesale beauty supply distribution company and as the face of that industry started changing in the early 80's, I branched out in other directions professionally. In about 1988 I joined into a partnership with a gentleman in a cabinet making company. The shop was located in the lower level of my brother's factory. Profitability was very poor so I moved on to a partnership with my brother and two other guys. We purchased a long established electroplating company, National Plating. We did rack and barrel zinc, rack and barrel tin, rack nickel, rack copper, and stainless steel electro-polishing. We sold the company to a new owner in 2001. This gives me a source for plating chassis parts of my tv sets if needed. From 1998 I moved the beauty supply company into my brother's factory building. I ran the supply company on apart time basis and worked for my brother's manufacturing company as a machinist doing tool and die work, and machine and plant maintenance. As a result I have many reaources to draw from that I can use in the restoration of tv sets.

In 1985 I took scuba diving lessons and got an advanced open water certification. That led me to using most of my free time diving in the local lakes hunting for old bottles. I soon amassed a large collection of antique bottles. Then I took a trip to the Caribbean to Bonaire, an island off the cost of Venezuela. From there on I was hooked on ocean diving. I traveled to most of the islands in the Caribbean, and then my dive travels took me to the South Pacific to the islands of Truk, where I dove the wrecks of the Japanese Imperial Fleet, and then on to Palau, the most beautiful Jewel in the Pacific. Being an avid amateur photographer, I naurally gravitated to underwater photography. I purchased a pair of Nikonos cameras, lenses and sub-flashes, and built a custom rig that held both camera systems, so I could do both wide angle and macro underwater photography simultaneously. I took 72 slide photos on every ocean dive I made. On each dive I got a couple shots that were just dazzling.

In 1987, I purchased my first Corvette. I had always been something of a gear head, and one day on the way to see a Brewers baseball game, I spoted a 1984 Corvette on a used car lot that caught my eye. I couldn't believe my eyes. I had no idea you could get a late model Corvette at such an affordable price. I started looking in the news paper and soon I owned my first Corvette, a 1984, white with red leather. Immediately I joined the Wisconsin Corvette Club. I met lots of new friends and I am still a member of WCC to this day. In the fall of 1991 I bought a brand new Corvette, and sold the '84. It's #1592 off the assembly line for the year 1992. A white with red leather, 6 speed manual transmission, Z06 suspension, with the Bose sound system. I still have it and will never sell it.

In 1992, a Corvette buddy of mine, got me interested in snowmobiling. I started out with a used Arctic Cat Wildcat 700. I drove it for the first few years, and when I met Tamy in 1994, I tried to get her interested in snowmobiling too. So I traded in my old Wildcat 700 for a new 1996 ZRT800 and a 1994 low milage ZR580 for Tamy, along with all the proper Arctic Cat snowmobile clothing for Tamy. Unfortunately "Princess" Tamy, being the petite little thing that she is, didn't take to snowmobiling very well. Too cold and too physical. Tamy is better suited to hitting the mall to go shoping, a skill that Tamy has honed to perfection. I continued snowmobiling for about 4 more years until I hurt my back on rough trails during a year when snow fall up north wasn't very good. After my back healed, I sold the sleds and never looked back. Been there, done that!

In 1997 I married for the 2nd time. Tamy is the best thing that ever happened to me. We got married in Cleveland, where Tamy was born, during the annual convention of the National Council of Corvette Clubs. We had our wedding reception dinner at the convention awards banquet where we celebrated with several hundred of our good Corvette club friends. Then we headed out to the east coast in our little white Corvette for a 2 week, sight-seeing honeymoon.

In the spring of 1998, Tamy and I started looking for lake property in the Great Northwoods of Wisconsin. We looked every weekend until early fall. Nothing we looked at met our expectations. Then, when we were about to throw in the towel and give up, we found just what we were looking for. It wasn't fancy, but it had great potential, and best of all it was within our budget. We closed on our little bit of heaven in October of '98, and the next spring we did extensive remodeling. You've heard the saying "in life, timing is everything". Well I can tell you our timing on the purchase of that cottage was perfect. Right after we bought our lake cottage, all the baby boomers got the same idea and started buying lake property like there was no tomorrow, and drove prices sky high.

While driving through the park near my home one day in the spring of 1978, I came upon a stray dog. We advertised for her owner to claim her but nobody responded. She was a Golden Retreiver and Collie mix. We named her Ginger and she was the smartest dog I have ever owned. She was so smart that she knew the names of all her toys. Tragically she died in a devastating fire in my home in November of 1985 at the age of 8.

About a year later in Spring 1987, I got my first pure bread Collie, Sarah, from some good friends of mine Dr. Jeff Abelt DVM and Dr. Susan Abelt DVM who had been breeding award winning Collies for many years. When Sarah was about 3, I got her a companion from the Abelt's. Her name was Shadow. Shadow was about 1 year old when we got her. She was a tri-color Collie. Shadow was a real sweatheart and looked up to her older sister Sarah for security, because Shadow was easily frightened.

Neither Tamy nor I have ever had children, so having dogs to spoil was a natural for us. When we married in 1997, we had 3 dogs. Sarah and Shadow, my two collies, and Weaver, Tamy's little hound dog. Sarah passed on in 1998, and Shadow and Weaver passed on in 2003.

After a month without any "kids" we got Oscar "The Big Schmooz" from my good friends the Abelts. Shortly after getting Oscar, we decided he needed a friend. It was at that time we discovered Minnesota Wisconsin Collie Rescue. Through MWCR we adopted Kayla, a sweet little sable and white Collie who somehow got the retrieving gene. She loved to fetch a tennis ball. It was the adoption of Kayla that got us involved in Collie rescue. For

about 5 years we fostered, transported, and found homes for Collies, through our volunteer work with MWCR. During that period, I served as MWCR president for about 18 months, until the work load became more than I could handle. Also during that time in MWCR, Tamy and I adopted Atlas, and Lucky. So for years we were home to 4 Collies of our own.

Atlas came into the MWCR collie rescue from a family that did not have the money to have his broken leg fixed. The rescue paid for his surgery and then I adopted him. Lucky was a dog that had been abused and was in the pound about to be euthanized. The rescue took him in but we found that the abuse he had suffered, had made him highly defensive and Lucky would sometimes try to bite if he was frightened. Lucky was not safe to send to a forever home, so Tamy and I adopted Lucky. With a lot of love, and patients, Lucky eventually outgrew his agressive tendencies, and Lucky become a friendly, good natured collie. In the spring of 2017 Lucky passed on at the age 14 years 2 months on April 17, 2017. Lucky had been slowly losing the use of his rear legs in his last 2 years of life.

In the summer of 2010, our little girl Kayla was diagnosed with Cancer and passed on at the age of 13. We miss her very much. Kayla was full of spunk and even though she was smaller than her brothers, she kept her 4 brothers in line. She was a tough little cookie. We will always remember her as the Collie that loved to retreive a tennis ball endlessly.

4 years later our dear sweet Oscar passed away at the age of 11 years and 9 months. Oscar had been slowing down greatly in the months before his passing. Oscar passed on in the early morning hours of May 15, 2014. He had gone out to potty and couldn't find the strength to make it back into the house. We carried him back into the house and he laid there for a few minutes and then his heart stopped and he passeed on peacefully. He will always be remembered as the big lap dog Collie who only wanted to be loved. Oscar's focus in life was to do whatever we asked him to do even to the point that in his last days when he could hardly find the strength to get up off the floor, he would somehow manage to get to his feet and go out to potty when we gave him the chance. He was the finest Collie that I have ever known and we will forever miss him for his gentle loving nature.

On December 5, 2015, after being diagnosed with lymphoma, we had to make the difficult decission to humanely eythanize our "happy-go-lucky" boy Atlas. We could tell that he was going downhill rapidly from the effects of the cancer and he appeared to have lost the will to go on. Atlas was 13 years 2 months and 21 days old when he passed on. I will miss Atlas the most because he had decided that I was his own personal person. He had claimed me for himself and always wanted to be by my side. To say the least, we were attached at the hips.

After Atlas passed on, I sent a note to his breeder Sharon Wobick of Rimrock Collies, in Grande Junction, Colorado to let her know of Atlas' passing. A few months later I got a phone call from Sharon telling me that she had a litter of puppies; asking if I was interested in one. So in spring of 2016, Tamy and I drove out to Grand Junction in our Corvette and picked up the newest addition to our family Thunder. Rimrock's Midnight Thunder. Midnight because of his beautiful BLACK fur, and Thunder because his bark is like the sound of thunder.

As of the winter of 2017 we have 2 Collies, Thunder and Lucky. Lucky is close to 14 now and his back legs are failing. I don't know if he will be able to make it through the winter.

In around 1999, I got my first Personal Computer. At the time, Ebay was very new, and one day I decided to see what all this "ebay talk" was all about. So I went to the ebay site, via dial up, and started to surf the site. Naturally I searched for stuff that was of interest to me. Not to long after my first ebay encounter I thought about looking at old television sets. I was actually looking for a Seville CTC4, because I was wondering what my old set would be worth in 1999 money. I never did find a CTC4, but what I did find was even more important. I happened to find an exact model TV that my parents first owned in 1951, and which as a 4 year old, I sat in front of every day at 3PM watching WTMJ channel 4 in Milwaukee. And of course Howdy Doody was one of the shows I watched.

That TV set was a Hallicrafters Model 820, there it was, right on my computer monitor, on ebay big as life. I just had to own it, and so I bid on it and I won it. It was in New Jersey. The seller boxed it up and shipped it freight collect by some trucking company. When it arrived it was laying on it's side. After I opened the box, I discovered that the picture tube had the neck busted off in shipping, and the envelope of the tube was floating around inside the cabinet. The lose crt bulb had damaged some of the components on the chassis. This was the start of my hobby restoring antique television sets.

It took me about 2 years to locate the parts to repair the Hallicrafters 820. Most difficult of all was locating a 16RP4 replacement picture tube. Finally after a long search a good tube was located at an old time tv repair shop somewhere in Pennsylvania. Now that I had the new picture tube, I was ready to get the set up and running. I made a list of the capacitors and ordered them. When they arrived, I set to work replacing all the old wax paper capacitors, and made my first crude attempts at re-stuffing electrolytic cans. Before long I had the chassis up and running. The next step was refinishing the cabinet. When it was all completed, I ordered a DVD of old time B&W tv shows.

For my first demonstration of the set for my wife Tamy, I selected an episode of Ozzie and Harriet to play on the DVD player. Up came the intro for the Ozzie and Harriet show, "Starring, Ozzie, Harriet, David and Ricky" I turned to Tamy and I said, "You know, all we need now is our TV trays and a Swanson TV Dinner, and it will be 1951 all over again"

I can't even begin to tell you how moved I was. I had been transported from the present day, back to a time and place in my heart, that I had thought about for many many years. A time that was simple. A time when dad worked, and mom raised a family, and everyone on the block was friends and knew each other on a first name basis. It was that very experience of turning on the Hallicrafters Model 820 in my living room in 2001, and watching an eppisode of Ozzie and Harriet on that little black and white tv set, that propelled me into a hobby which has grown in scope and satisfaction ever since.

Some day all of my sets will end up in the hands of other collectors who will continue the craft of preserving the history of these historic old television sets. But for now, I get to enjoy these wonderful artifacts of technology as their appointed caretaker.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it.