Heathkit® FAQ

Heathkit® Frequently Asked Questions

About Heathkit

Q. Are there new modern Heathkit® kits?
A. Yes.
Q. Will you continue making and selling replacement parts, updated software, and support kits for vintage Heathkit® kits?
A. Yes. We have been doing this continuously for many years, and will continue.
Q. Do Heathkit products include entirely new designs?
A. Yes.
Q. Will you continue to offer vintage kit designs?
A. Yes. Tell us what you'd like – take our survey.
Q. How can I order the latest Heathkit® kit designs?
A. On the Web. We offer our products on our website and at our eBay shop. Please understand, the design process is a long road, and we need every product we offer to be Heathkit® quality. We will communicate with you, here and elsewhere, as we make progress on each kit we sell. Thanks for being patient while we continue the legacy of this great company and add to its spectacular product line.
Q. What kind of Heathkit products are available today?
A. New Heathkit products include hardware and software, publications, vintage kits, upgrade kits, new electronics kits, and lots more. See the website and eBay store.
Q. I have great ideas—about products I wish you'd make, and past kits I'd buy if Heathkit brings them back. What should I do?
A. You are our favorite customer. We want to hear from you. Of course, don't tell us anything proprietary unless you have a non-disclosure agreement signed with us. But if you want to tell us about yourself, your favorite past or future Heathkit product, and what you most hope to see and buy from us: Please—take our survey.

Questions about the company

Q. Who owns Heathkit?
A. Heathkit® is a trademark registered in the US and around the world. Heath Company offers Heathkit® products worldwide.
Q. I thought Heathkit didn't exist anymore.
A. To paraphrase Mark Twain: The reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated.
Q. But I read it on the Internet, and Wikipedia.
A. Yeah, we saw that too. (Wikipedia once reported that the Vatican has a Death Star. Who writes this stuff?)
Q. Magazines also printed articles saying Heathkit went bankrupt in 2012.
A. Yes. Bankruptcy is a financial problem where you lack money. It is not always the end of life of a business. Many businesses go through bankruptcy and emerge stronger. Heathkit® is such a success story.
Q. Who sells Heathkit products now?
A. Heath Company does. (Heathkit® is a trademark of Heathkit, registered in the US and around the world.) With Heath Company selling Heathkit products, Heathkit's destiny is in new hands, under new management and ownership. We know the value and trust you place in the Heathkit® name, and we are committed to making Heathkit succeed and flourish.
Q. I thought the name of the company was “Heathkit Educational Systems.”
A. This was widely misreported and misunderstood. “Heathkit® Educational Systems” is a trademarked use of the Heathkit® trademark, not the corporation name. (This and all uses of Heathkit® fall under Heathkit trademarks, registered internationally.)
Q. All these company names are really confusing.
A. We understand. As devoted Heathkit® fans know, the parent company name and the ownership of Heathkit have changed a number of times in the roughly 120 or so years since Ed Heath founded the business. Over the decades Heathkit has been a subsidiary of Daystrom, Schlumberger, and Zenith and has been independent several times. Really: Unless you're an industry historian, it doesn't matter. Here's the bottom line: Heath Company runs all Heathkit® operations today. High-quality kits, educational systems and instructional products always have been a major line of Heathkit's business, and we remain committed to education and the joy of building and learning as an important Heathkit® value and contribution.
Q. So who are you guys?
A. The company is privately held, and notwithstanding this FAQ, the team has not been seeking personal publicity. We want the products we sell to speak for themselves. But here's what we want you to know right now: We have enormous respect for the Heathkit® name, and we know you do too. We consider ourselves this decade's caretakers of the most respected name in do-it-yourself and educational electronics and related products over the past century. It's a terrific opportunity and a historical responsibility we take seriously, and we want to preserve and grow this opportunity, together with you. We know we need to earn and keep your trust every day. Meanwhile, to whet your appetite: Our CEO/President and Board of Directors are avid kit-builders and DIYers. Our Chief Engineer is a past Heathkit employee who designed and developed Heathkit kit products decades ago, providing exceptional continuity of operations, practices, and culture. We all own and use Heathkit® products ourselves daily. For those with this interest, it happens that board members and much of our team are licensed amateur radio operators. (Also happy with our team will be: car buffs, pilots, musicians & artists, sports/outdoors enthusiasts, parents, educators, and people who value community service.) Our management team have substantial experience as high-tech executives, in startups and public companies, and in technology and finance. We have carefully grown a team of highly experienced industry advisors. Most importantly, we want you to help and advise us too. Ultimately, it is you, with your excitement and enthusiasm and interest in doing great things with great products, who will make Heathkit a success.
Q. Why have you been quiet about your management team?
A. Efficiency. Here are two business choices for how to grow the company. Choice (a) is, we spend lots of money, time and energy on press releases and video blogs and marketing and public interaction. Choice (b) is, we quietly assemble a talented team, learn what our customer community wants, and put all our energy into creating great new products (while sustaining or improving great vintage products). Which choice sounds better?
Q. Do you have a factory? Where?
A. Yes. When we restarted the kit business we had our own product R&D, light manufacturing and warehouse facilities in Santa Cruz, California. (Think oscilloscopes, mills, lathes, presses, inventory, etc.) We have grown the company and moved east since then, and we have operations in several other locations throughout the U.S. Additionally, we have specialty manufacturing partners in locations throughout the U.S. who manufacture custom-component Heathkit-designed parts, to our specs and in accordance with our patent filings.
Q. Can I visit your factory, or a Heathkit retail center?
A. Not presently. Our manufacturing facilities do not accommodate customer visits right now, but we are planning a customer-friendly facility you can visit sometime in the future.

Heathkit Insiders

Q. I heard there is a group called Heathkit Insiders.
A. Yes, there is.
Q. How can I join the Heathkit Insiders group?
A. Take the survey, and provide a valid email address.
Q. I want to be a Heathkit Insider, but I am concerned about privacy.
A. We understand. We are big privacy advocates too. You may feel more comfortable after carefully reading our privacy policy.
Q. I took the survey and entered an email address, but I haven't received any Heathkit Insiders messages.
A. There are several possible explanations.
  1. We may not have mailed anything out lately. We strive to minimize the clutter in your inbox, and only send mail when we have something to say.
  2. It can take time for your email address to be added to the list, since email addresses must be checked and corrected.
  3. You might have entered an incorrect email address. About 5-10% of email addresses are entered incorrectly or undeliverable. We work hard to decipher and correct entry errors, but sometimes they are not possible to fix.
  4. Your email service may be marking your Heathkit Insider communications as spam. This problem is especially likely if you use a very large email or forwarding service like Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft (live.com / outlook.com / msn.com), AOL (aol.com and prodigy.net), or ATT (including sbcglobal.net). Your email service provider may have moved valid Heathkit messages to your spam folder, or they may block the messages completely. Presently all Heathkit Insiders email comes from the (non-human mail robot) address "heathkit-insider-mailing-list-robot-2013" or "heathkit-insider-mailing-list-robot-2015" at heathkit.com, and you may need to "whitelist" this address or add it to your email address book stored at the service provider's website, so your service provider allows it to arrive. Other email, such as for order confirmations or tech support, may come from a "heath.company" address. Lately we find the worst delivery problems have been to ATT/sbcglobal, Microsoft, and Gmail accounts. Gmail is particularly aggressive in incorrectly categorizing good mail as spam. When you find our email in your spam box, please take a moment to mark it as "not spam" to teach your provider that Heathkit and Heath Company send valued email you want to receive. Thanks.

Intellectual Property

Q. Why do you have a FAQ section on intellectual property?
A. Customers ask us about it. They want to know that we are continuing the Company's great traditions unabated. (We are.)
Q. I read on the Internet that Heathkit publications are in the public domain.
A. Not from anyone who understands intellectual property law. (Again: Who writes this stuff?) The Internet probably is not an ideal place to obtain primary legal advice. To be clear: No. This is false.
Q. Who owns Heathkit's intellectual property?
Heathkit owns all Heathkit® intellectual property—all trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. (This includes, for example, all current and historical Heathkit product designs, patents, manual copyrights, schematics, lines of business, contract rights, customer lists, relationships, marketing plans, photos, videos, trade dresses, catalog rights, textbook copyrights, logos, publication designs.) 100% of it. Under U.S. and international copyright and other applicable IP laws, Heathkit owns the exclusive right to copy, modify, or adapt its designs, products, and materials that are its intellectual property (roughly: if someone copies, modifies, or adapts our intellectual property—even with the intent of "improving" it—they would have to get permission from Heathkit first). Of course, this is great news for Heathkit fans and customers. You want all the Heathkit® IP in one place under one roof. It means Heathkit can keep being Heathkit.
Q. Do you still sell Heathkit® books, training publications, and replacement manuals for vintage Heathkit® equipment?
A. Yes. We have an active publications business selling our monographs and training materials, as well as manuals for thousands of vintage Heathkit® products, which we continue to provide for a very reasonable cost. These and our other products are available at our website.
Q. I read on the Internet that someone else owns the copyrights to Heathkit® manuals.
A. No, not correct. Heathkit did in the past have a contractual license with certain specific companies granting them a limited right to reprint and sell paper copies of specific Heathkit assembly manuals and related publications, to better serve valued Heathkit customers on those special occasions when you spill coffee on your original kit manual, or as part of a joint marketing agreement. Today Heathkit performs all vintage manual printing itself, and there are no other lawful distributors (whether or not payment is made for the manual copies). Other past contractual arrangements have been part of joint marketing agreements with corporate or institutional industry partners. Such reprinting or joint marketing agreements are designed to outsource Heathkit's reprinting operations to companies who Heathkit judges can provide replacement manuals or facilitate distributing our publications cost-effectively, but do not convey Heathkit's intellectual property, only permission to reprint authorized paper copies under express license. The only lawful way today to produce, reproduce, or distribute our publications and IP, in any form, is under to a modern, current, fully-executed written co-publication license with Heathkit. In summary, all Heathkit® copyrights remain with Heathkit.
Q. So Heathkit owns all Heathkit® copyrights?
A. Yes. All Heathkit® copyrights, and all Heathkit intellectual property, are property of Heathkit.
Q. What about using the term “Heathkit”?
A. “Heathkit®” is a registered trademark of Heathkit. If you want to write about our products and services in a news article, blog, or club newsletter, or participate in the vibrant hobbyist reseller market for true original vintage Heathkit® products, we're delighted—please use the proper registered-trademark notation, “Heathkit®” whenever referring to us or our products. (On the other hand: To people who thought they could get away with advertising or selling their own products or services using Heathkit's name, logo or slogans, or who copy or mimic Heathkit's copyrighted works, falsely represent themselves publicly on social media or elsewhere using the Heathkit® name without our written permission, try to scam the public by selling non-Heathkit® products bearing our trademarked name, or otherwise improperly use Heathkit® intellectual property: Please cease immediately. There are statutory penalties for this kind of violation. Ask your lawyer if you don't understand what this can mean to you financially.)
Q. I saw someone clearly misusing the Heathkit® name, or violating your copyright or trademark, or distributing illegal digital copies of your books and other publications. What can I do?
A. If you know of someone doing this, please tell them to stop immediately and please report it to us. Consider reporting them to their seller venue or Internet service provider. And don't buy their products. Here's why: When people steal or leech off Heathkit's intellectual property, they are stealing from you, because money we must spend pursuing violators burns up resources we could have invested in designing another great product for you, making someone available to answer your questions, or offering your club or school a group discount. We have to reserve our right to protect our good name and intellectual property, and we do and will enforce those rights. But truly, as much as we like our lawyers (we do have some excellent lawyers), we prefer investing our resources in continuing the honorable Heathkit® legacy by designing and bringing you terrific products. So please help us out: If you see someone misusing or violating our intellectual property, say something, and we will do the same. If you're reading this, you're probably already a fan of Heathkit®, and you respect the name and you understand the potential yet to come. Don't let irresponsible people steal opportunity from you and the Heathkit® community. Stop a thief today. The kit you save may be your own.
Q. This is a lot of detail on IP. Remind me again—why do you have a FAQ section on intellectual property?
A. Customers ask us about it. They want to know that we are continuing the company's great traditions unabated. (We are.)

What Next

Q. How can I keep up-to-date on Heathkit's progress?
A. You can become a Heathkit Insider. If you use Facebook, you also can "Like" us on the Heath Company Facebook page (visit that page and click the "Like" button). Facebook then will notify you when we post updates and announcements.
Q. What else can I do?
A. Take the survey. Then—since the best way to get us to create products you really want is to convince us there's a market for them: Share your enthusiasm—tell your friends to take the survey. And visit the Heathkit web catalog site often to check out our latest kits.