Joel from BBG dug up a great find this morning—the Radio Shack Catalog Archive, which archives the offerings of the tinkerer's temple turned cheap cellphone store starting from the grand ol' age of 1939.
Within you will find pages filled with tubes, insulators, connectors, sockets, coils, Hammarlund condensers—all that went into the 30s' 40s' and 50s' basement ham radio and space alien communcation projects. I also think I've spotted every component from my dad's old stereo system—the one I spent my youth knob-twiddling and staring at the backlit moving needles. Why don't stereo's have needle-gauges anymore? That makes me sad.
Dude's collection is pretty impressive, but if you have any old catalogs laying around that can fill in his early 40s and 50s gaps, I am sure he would be happy to hear from you. [RadioShack Catalog Archive via Boing Boing Gadgets