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American Science and Surplus, Milwaukee, WI

Invention and discovery is American Science and Surplus’s main driving force. This space is dedicated to providing unique fun, tapping into everyone’s preference. Here, you can find tons of products, all featuring an inclination towards education and science. Abbreviated as AS&S, this venue will occasionally offer you amusing and handy surplus stuff and a crazily affordable price. From inventory overruns to love closeouts, ill-manufactures to products whose time hasn’t seemingly come, be sure to pass by for a souvenir or two.

At Surplus, once an item is sold, it is gone for good! As such, if you see something that appeals to you, be sure to grab it right away. Sometimes, in place of surplus items, there is eccentric merchandise that will definitely draw the attention of those interested in some tinkering and learning. The whimsical stuff you will find here are sure to leave you well entertained. In case the stuff on display didn’t please you, you can share your feedback and rest assured that something will be done about it.

American Science & Surplus was founded around 1937. During this time, AI Leubbers, its founder, was working for Chicago’s Western Electric. Al had a huge interest in optics and he noticed that a firm, just next door to the company where he worked was throwing away reject lenses. He approached and requested to buy the rejects, but they wouldn’t sell them to him. However, they allowed them to have them for free, provided that he would haul them away.

With the help of his wife Buddy, Al took the reject lenses, cleaned and polished them at their kitchen table in the evenings and decided to offer them for sale. They placed an ad in Popular Science offering ten lenses for only fifty ¢. In no time, they started getting orders. It occurred to Al that if the ad was changed to read ‘10 Lenses for $1’, people would somehow be convinced that the lenses were of better quality and buy more. True to his prediction, it happened!

Soon enough, they established it an official business, going by the name American Lens & Photo.
After World War II, the business thrived, expanding to incorporate the new surplus from the war. Eventually, Al decided to open a retail store on the Northwest side of Chicago and named it the American Science Center. He started adding educational science items. In the 1970’s Al’s son Jerry joined his parents in the business, until he eventually took it over from them. In 1979 he started a catalog operation under the name “Jerryco” and in 1981 he opened a second store, in the city of Milwaukee, WI.

The American Science & Surplus continues to provide a unique mix of military, industrial, and educational items, with strong emphasis on science and education. They supply an impressive range of bizarre, unusual and rare hard-to-find items to the tinkerer, collector, artist, home educator, experimenter, bargain, and do-it-yourselfer hunter.

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