Central Hardware, St. Louis history

Central Hardware, St. Louis history

St. Louis-based Central Hardware was one of the first big-box home improvement chains. It peaked in 1993 at 39 stores in six states in the midwest, employing 3,700 people. It was once the 19th largest hardware retailer in the United States.

Central Hardware’s motto was “everything from scoop to nuts,” a play on the English idiom “soup to nuts,” which means beginning to end. Their inventory was over 40,000 SKUs, comparable to today’s home improvement stores. Its stores regularly exceeded 50,000 square feet. That’s about half the size of a typical home improvement store today, but it was large for the 1970s and 1980s. Traditional hardware stores ranged in size from 2,000 to 10,000 square feet. Its employees wore orange vests so customers knew who to ask for help.

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Fix gaps in laminate floor

Sometimes the locking system on laminate floor fails over time. When this happens, the piece slides around, leaving a big, unslightly gap in the floor. Tearing the floor up and replacing the worn-out pieces takes a lot of time and runs the risk of creating more damage. When this happens, here’s how to easily fix gaps in laminate floor.

You will want to fix these gaps sooner, rather than later. Gaps in laminate floor increase the risk of gouging the individual pieces.

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Vinyl plank flooring on walls

Vinyl plank flooring on walls

Someone asked me about using vinyl plank flooring on walls recently. It’s an interesting idea, except for one problem the person brought up: vinyl planks falling off.

The adhesive on vinyl planks works better with gravity helping out. On walls, the gravity is working against it. Here are some tips that will help give you better results with vinyl plank flooring on walls.

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What salary do I need to buy a house?

What salary do I need to buy a house?

What salary do I need to buy a house? I struggled with that question in my 20s and it probably kept me renting a year or so longer than I really needed to be. Then again, considering the housing crisis of 2007-2008, renting a year or so longer was a small price to pay to avoid potentially making the biggest financial mistake of my life.

One of the reasons for that financial crisis was not enough people asking that question. A second reason was banks being dishonest about the answer.

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Prong stuck in an outlet? Here’s the fix.

Prong stuck in an outlet? Here’s the fix.

The other day we went to unplug a lamp so we could plug a vacuum cleaner in. But something didn’t quite feel right. When we looked at the plug, we could see why. One of the prongs was missing. When we looked at the outlet, the prong was still there. There’s some bad, or at least time-wasting, advice out there on how to fix a prong stuck in an outlet or socket. Here’s how we fixed it.

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Computers in 1985: It was a very good year

Computers in 1985: It was a very good year

In some ways, 1985 was a really pivotal year for computing. The industry was changing fast, but in 1985, many relics from the past were still present even as we had an eye for the future. Here’s a look back at computers in 1985 and what made that year so interesting.

I think 1985 was interesting in and of itself, but it also made the succeeding years a lot more interesting. A surprising amount of the technology that first appeared in 1985 still has an impact today.

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Cheap closet doors

Cheap closet doors

It’s not uncommon for fixer-upper houses to be missing closet doors, or have irreparable closet doors. I’m not sure why people beat up on their closet doors, but it seems to happen. I do know a legal bedroom has to have a closet with a door. If you need to fix a missing or busted door fast and cheap, here’s just the thing. I’m happy to share what I do when I need cheap closet doors.

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What happened to Digital Equipment Corporation?

What happened to Digital Equipment Corporation?

Digital Equipment Corporation was perhaps the second most important computer company in history, behind IBM. Its minicomputers challenged IBM, and, indeed, Unix first ran on a DEC PDP-7. DEC’s Alpha CPU was one of the few chips to make Intel nervous for its x86 line. It created the first really good Internet search engine. In a just and perfect world, DEC would still be dominating. Instead, it faded away in the 1990s. What happened to Digital Equipment Corporation, or DEC?

There’s a short answer and a long answer.

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