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Here at American Science & Surplus we are fascinated by discovery and invention. And we are dedicated to having fun along the way. We offer an eclectic range of products, many with a science or educational tilt to them, others simply handy or amusing. Value is important, and whenever we can, we carry surplus at prices well below retail. We love closeouts, inventory overruns, mis-manufactures, and items whose time has not come.
A word of caution: When a surplus item is gone, it is gone. So if you see something you love, best get it now since we may not have it tomorrow. When we can't find surplus, we may carry regular merchandise which we think those interested in learning and tinkering will find appealing, but only if we feel it is good quality at a fair price. Littered in and around this stuff are whimsical things that we carry because, well, because we like them. And we hope you will too. Be sure to drop us an e-mail at to let us know what you think of what we have, and what you would like to see.
Company History
American Science & Surplus was established in about 1937. At that time the founder, Mr. Al Luebbers, was working for Western Electric, here in Chicago. Al had a great interest in optics and he noticed that a company next door to the plant where he worked was throwing away reject lenses. He asked them if he could buy the rejects and they said, "No, But you can have them if you will haul them away."
Al and his wife Buddy took the 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 50¢ and began to receive orders. Al figured that if they changed the ad to "Ten Lenses for $1" people would think they were better lenses and buy more. So he did. And they did. And the business was launched as American Lens & Photo.
After the Second World War the company expanded, fed by war surplus. Eventually, Al opened a retail store on Chicago's Northwest side called American Science Center and started carrying educational science items.
In the 1970's Al & Buddy's son Jerry joined his parents in the business, eventually taking it over from them. In 1979 he started a catalog operation under the name "Jerryco" and in 1981 he opened a second store, in Milwaukee.
In 1988 Jerry took in a partner, Scott McCausland, who bought out the Luebbers after Jerry's unfortunate death a short time later. In 1991 we opened our third location in Geneva, IL. After consolidating all operations under the name American Science & Surplus we started our first web site in 1995. In late 1999 we completely rebuilt our web site and started taking online orders. In 2000 McCausland retired and sold American Science & Surplus to Philip Cable. Philip is a life-long science geek and continued to grow the business until October of 2012. In October of 2012 Philip sold the business to one of our very own employees, Patrick Meyer. Patrick is a 29 year veteran of American Science and Surplus and our head purchaser. Patrick will continue to head up our purchasing team to bring you lots of incredible stuff, at unbelievable prices.
AS&S Today
American Science & Surplus continues to offer a unique mix of industrial, military and educational items, with an emphasis on science and education. We supply a wide range of unusual and hard to find items (some say bizarre stuff) to the hobbiest, tinkerer, artist, experimenter, home educator, do-it-yourselfer, and bargain hunter.
Customers have used American Science and Surplus items in home made cars, sculptures, precision instruments, home made telescopes,costumes, model railroads, window dressings, holiday decorations, and innumerable science projects. Our items are great gifts, inexpensive supplies, and an endless reason for a giggle or a "Gee whiz!" We try to be scrupulously honest in presenting whatever we know about what we have, and always take it back, no questions asked, if the customer isn't satisfied with it.
In case you're anywhere in the upper Midwest and would like to visit our stores, here's where they're located:
5316 N. Milwaukee Avenue
(773) 763-0313
Route 38, 1/4 mile east of Kirk Road
(630) 232-2882
6901 W. Oklahoma
(414) 541-7777
We encourage you to visit; our stores aren't just worth the trip, they ARE a trip!
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Our web site always contains everything we have available for sale outside our retail stores. Typically, new items are listed on the site before they get published in our catalog...
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In addition to this fabulous on-line catalog of incredible stuff, American Science & Surplus has three great retail locations. If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by! Store hours may vary. Feel free to call for store hours and directions.
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