Gold Recovery

The Honeywell 200/2000 systems I worked on for 15 years held anywhere from 1500-4000 circuit boards. These boards

had gold-plated fingers (contacts) that plugged into the backplanes. The backplanes each had a small dot of gold to

make good electrical contact with each finger. At that time, each circuit board was worth about $1 in gold. I had a chemist

who knew how to recover gold from these circuit boards and backplanes. It was a dangerous process (nitric acid, aqua regia and

other chemicals) if you didn't know what you were doing. Below are some pictures we took during some of the recovery.

The biggest nugget we ever made was one pound and was 93% pure.

 

These were from IBM systems and were plated very heavy with gold

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Nitric acid dissolves all metals but the gold.

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Another chemical, aqua regia is added that dissolves the gold

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This is the "powder" that settles out from the dissolved liquid after the settling agent in introduced.

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Powdered glass is introduced so that when a torch is applied, the gold doesn't blow out of the crucible.

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When the powdered glass melts, it settles down and melts the gold powder, resulting in a gold nugget

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The lighter melted glass is poured off and the result is the gold nugget

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Just for kicks, we made a one pound gold nugget, 93% pure.

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Other examples of nuggets we made

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I rented space at one of my customer's building. It started out being only a 15 x 15 area for $25 a month. I kept increasing my space

until I eventually had about 2500 square feet occupied. They eventually needed the space and I was "evicted".

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My first building was a 5000 square foot warehouse (Folsom building) in a not-so-good area of town, but it was all I could afford at the time.

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Some of the junk computers in one of my buildings.

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A 7200 square foot building I owned for a few years before it became too small (the Hanley building).

I bought this after getting out of the 5000 square foot Folsom building.

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We installed a raised floor to cover hundreds of pounds of cables that connected the units, plus cutouts supplied cool air

to offset the heat generated by these large, power-guzzling components and set up a computer room.

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The finished computer room set up at the Hanley building. Customers would rent this when they needed extra computing power. This system

had 256k of memory, which was huge at the time. The short disk drives at the bottom of the picture held removable 72 meg disk packs.

For awhile we had an IBM 370/158 System set up

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Some of the good equipment in a warehouse I leased when the Hanley building became full. The shorter units are disk drives

that each held 18-72 megs of storage and sold new for $25-50,000 each.

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When the Hanley building became too small, I bought this 25,000 square foot building to accommodate all the used equipment I was buying

and turning into gold (the Maplewood building). The main section was a 100 x 100 open warehouse which was filled with heavy duty shelving.

I leased out the back of the building to another company.

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The back section of the Maplewood building that I leased out to another company

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Some of the equipment I bought was still valuable for the 50+ Honeywell systems we serviced in eleven states. After setting aside equipment

needed for parts or for resale,  80-90% of what was left was only valuable for gold and scrap. After recovering the gold, I would sell computer

scrap to Taiwan for ten cents a pound. Taiwan has very little metal resources, so the copper, iron, tin, etc. that we saw as scrap had value to them.

They would back up trailers and we would load them up with scrap that we would have normally take to the landfill. About once a year, we would

sell them 60-100,000 pounds and get paid in cash. It was a nice win-win situation for us.

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A young BB Jr

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A younger BB Sr

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A used IBM 370-158 system bought for gold content. This unit new sold for close to a million dollars. I paid around $2500 for it for the scrap value.

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After new technology made the old Honeywell Systems obsolete, I started sold the Maplewood building and started a satellite sales company which

did very well until scrambling of satellite signals knocked out 90% of our sales. After that, I soon sold the building and moved to Las Vegas.

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My Firebirds and Trans Ams over the years

1975 Firebird

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1977 Firebird - I started my own computer maintenance business and when I made a nice score on selling some

equipment, I went out and bought this new for around $7000 cash. I gave this to my son when I bought my 82 Trans Am.

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1982 Trans Am - I was hit almost head on in this. The crash wiped out the left side of the car.

It took about three months to get fixed and I traded it in for my 85.

 

+

 

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1985 Trans Am - My son was in a wreck with this one, so when that happened; knowing it took three

months to get the 82 fixed, I traded it in as-is on the 87.

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1987 Trans Am - Came to Vegas in this.