Flea market prospecting
- Went to a flea market  today. Took
Mr. Quartex with me -I'm keeping him in the
car these days anyway. I saw
some vaseline glass --brilliant in the
sun (ahh, southern california, this was
an outside market in February) but only a few times
background (~30 uR/hr) as has been typical
in my hunts. (Well, ok, this was hunt #2.)
Saw some hot Fiestaware and Bauer ceramics. Oddly,
I saw one piece that was marked HLC
Fiestaware on the bottom and was that special orange
but was *not* hot. Most pieces were
(IMHO too) expensive, but I found a good deal on
some small plates. I will have to measure if
the rad fields add at all, or if one thickness of
plate absorbs most betas. 5mm of SiO2 atomic
Saw no geiger counters but I saw one radium
item --a Bendix WWII ship-type compass (ie
6" across, maybe 4" tall), that was about
700 uR/hr  at an inch above the glass.
$125 and "it points north" as the seller said,
but beyond my budget. I think the gimbals were
rusted solid too.
One vendor asked me if that thing in my hand
"measured something", I explained what it was
and that the orange glaze was hot but harmless.
Unless you put it under your pillow, I said
(modulo the hormesis dispute :-), and the guy
commented about putting it in your mouth, since
I was looking at a teacup. (But that still
doesn't add up to much.) I forgot to mention
the lead leaching out if you use them with acidic
foods or drink. Lead tannate with your tea, anyone?
Also of note was a box of Resistors, capital R:
500 M ohms, 100 M ohms. I thought of you-all repair
hobbyists but I have no current need (no pun intended).
Met a guy who makes his living selling
working AM radios of the past. He repairs them.
It impresses me that one could make a living at that.
Overall not much electronics there --a box of tubes,
a large wooden resistance box (as old as me), that's
I didn't really bother scanning the jewelry --for
the hot enamel pieces I've heard of-- since I'm
not using the most sensitive instrument in the world.
On the other hand, you put Mr. Q. next to a piece of
Fiestaware and the blinky light stays on solid,
real easy. And I did linger for the required 30
secs to assay the vaseline glassware a few times.
Alas, found no radium medical applicators ;-)
 Irvine Valley College, 1st and 3rd sunday
of each month, early-until-3PM,
huge number of vendors, all antiques, free parking.
 equivalent, beta + gamma.