About PI Vintage And The Spy And Private-Eye Museum
Hi I'm Ralph Thomas and I'd like to welcome you to PI Vintage and the
Spy And Private-Eye Museum. If you have anything to do with investigation,
you will likely have an interest in the rich history of private investigation
and the spy world. I have been collecting a lot of this kind of stuff
since I was 16 years old and still in high school.Of course, at that period
of time, this stuff was, ah well new! I can remember a time when my junior
high school buddy and pal David Mollison and I only dreamed of becoming
investigators. We were very young then but we both made those dreams come
true. After decades of logging thousands of hours of surveillance, conducting
tens of thousands of investigative interviews, locating thousands of missing
persons and doing almost every other kind of investigation under the sun,
something happened to David and I that happens to us all. We woke up one
day and discovered we were not young any more. It's funny how people's
focus on life developes. First, it's usually about making a living. Then,
it's about becoming recognized by one's peers. However, as one grows older
and hopefully wiser, the thing you do for community seems more important
than anything else.
I can remember as a kid, staying at my grandmother's house. She had old carved furniture setting on hand laid wood floors. At the time, this stuff was old and no one wanted it. It was considered a bunch of junk. Today, that same furniture would be worth tens of thousands of dollars as a lot of it was passed down to her from her mother. The same holds true of investigative gear so remember that. I can remember just a few years ago, I purchased my first digital camera. It was called the Mavica and was sold by Sony. I liked that camera because it used a floppy disk drive. Today it's old and vintage. This in and of itself is a lesson on how fast things change these days.
This section doesn't have much to do with selling you anything nor promoting something other than the fact that I have a believe that the history of private investigation and spying needs to be preserved. We are working very closely with Ben Harroll's PI Museum in California and this site is really a joint effort of many as we want to feature as many other like sites on the internet and give the professional investigator a place to learn about the history of investigation, spying and law enforcement with a focus on the equipment and gear of days gone by. We also want to inform those with interest of other brick and mortar museums you can go to in person to see a lot of this kind of stuff in the flesh for yourself. At the bottom of the front page for this section is a hugh collection of links that keep you informed of like museums you can go to in person. I'd like to give you a short run-down on a few of the places I like the best.
If you are in the San Diego area in California, be sure to make time to contact Ben Harroll to see his PI Museum. Ben has been collecting this stuff with a passion most of his life and he has been one of the major leaders in his community for the development of Gaslamp Quarters, a several block area with old buildings that was at one time earmarked to be torn down by the city. Because of the leadership of people like Ben, Gaslamp Quarters has been saved and the old buildings completely redone. Both his investigative agency and his PI Museum is now located in this area. Ben's PI Museum is likely one of the world's most extensive collections in the world relating to private investigation.
If you are ever near the Waco Texas area, you will find the Texas Ranger's Hall Of Fame one of the most interesting law enforcement museums in the world. I happen to stop in the place and every time I travel from Austin to Dallas or Forth Worth, I always plan several hours to see what they have that's new.
When it comes to shock and awe on investigative and spy stuff, by far the largest museum of it's kind is The International Spy Museum in Washington DC. The museum is located in a several story building in downtown Washington so plan on spending at least a half a day to see everything. They have a gift shop you will want to spend at least a half an hour in.
Finally, if you are planning to come to the Austin, Texas area, we now have a lot of this collection on display in two separate rooms off of the Spy Exchange And Security Center, one of the nation's largest showrooms for investigative and security gear as well as books and manuals. So be sure to plan on stopping in at our showroom in Austin, Texas to see spy and private-eye history unfold for you in person. If you have any questions, or comments, you can email me at RThomas007@aol.com.
Ralph Thomas, CEO