A Little Time and a Keyboard: American Science & Surplus

Friday, January 4, 2013

American Science & Surplus

If you're looking for a store filled with intellectual curiosities, fun gadgets and assorted oddities....I've got the spot: American Science & Surplus.  I guarantee you've not been to any store like it.  It's easily my husband's favorite store - and this is a man who generally hates shopping.

Its catalog describes its wares thusly, "...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 hobbyist, tinkerer, artist, experimenter, home educator, do-it-yourselfer and bargain hunter."

We went to the Chicago location (5316 N.Milwaukee Ave.) and the inventory is overwhelming. Every aisle is jam-packed with treasures.  Who can resist a Newton's Cradle, for $6.95?  Not my daughter, who bought it with her allowance money.  A sampling of items we saw: bacon strip bandages, telescopes, gas masks, periodic table of elements shower curtains, industrial-strength magnets, gnome-on-a-rope soap, metric system placements, retractable flyswatters, freeze-dried astronaut ice cream, neon pink sandpaper, rearview spy glasses, gyroscopes, etc.....

American Science & Surplus is well worth checking out, for both kids and adults. There are many very practical household items here (i.e. office supplies) that are priced very cheaply. This is the "Surplus" of the company name; they buy closeouts, inventory overruns, mis-manufactures and items whose time has not come.  So you may come away with bargains like Post-It notes.  I even saw many things that would be wonderful favors for kids parties.  And of course, there is a goodly share of high-tech items for science geeks such as telescopes, microscopes, lab equipment and electronic equipment. We, however, did not come away with what my mad scientist husband most covets: the $229 Tesla Coil. Maybe, for his birthday...

Besides its site in Chicago, American Science & Surplus has locations in Geneva, IL and in Milwaukee, WI.  There are thousands more items available on the company's website:  www.sciplus.com.


  1. I wonder if I can find some fun things for my 2 yo. Cool store! I'll have to check it out.

  2. We love that store, too. We live close enough that we often go to their annual warehouse sale. It's a total crap-o-rama, but if you like hunting for diamonds in the rough, you'll have fun finding a treasure, like a super-strong magnet you didn't know you needed.

  3. what a great shop! Thank you for sharing st the hop xo