Sad indeed. Last summer I rescued one I didn't need - a brand new, boxed, never opened Saunders C6700 a local photo store here was trying to clear from inventory. I buy my film there, and one day I went in and saw the boxes standing in the tiny darkroom section. For the next few months every time I went in the boxes were still there. Nobody interested. I couldn't stand it anymore so I had to ask how much they wanted for it. I paid under $200. I think they retail for something like $1200. Sad.
I've yet to see one locally for cheap/free. With the current state of darkroom equipment I hate it when I hear someone say setting up a darkroom is just too expensive. If you have even a tiny area you can black out with cloth, you can have a functioning darkroom for less than $500. You might be able to do it for free if you find the right deal!
They're like kittens. You can't rescue them all. I've seen units worth more than $50,000 literally thrown
into the dump. I salvage what I can. In that case it was just the lenses and vac easel that I rescued.
And I know about doomed stuff worth way more than that. I've turned down all kinds of free enlargers. But ya gotta have space and need. Get the gear while you can, because it won't take long before the whole planet is buried beneath hundreds of feet obsolete electronics waste, and you'll have to dig way down thru all the crushed inkjet machines and last-year's techie toys to get to the good stuff.
Does anybody know where I could find a nice 4x5 Durst or Omega Enlarger?
I just started thinking about printing my 4x5 negatives again.
My wife was looking at some of my black and white prints (a few are more than 35 years old), and she said: "I just love your Black & White photographs".
We both agreed, there is truly something magical about the entire print making process!
I still like black and white better than any of my digital work.
As posted earlier, I found enlargers at a thrift store. I'm sure Ebay or Craigslist will have some too. Don't be too picky and you'll find one. They still sell them new, but why buy them new when folks are selling them cheap for even giving them away? As for 4x5 negs, you can always contact print them.
"Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."