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Quickset vs. Houston-Fearless - Ultimate Tripod?

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#1 desertrefugee

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 11:41 PM

Some time ago, I picked up an older tripod and head made by Houston-Fearless. Very heavy duty and in need of fab work for adapting a mount, I have held onto it since I never picked up a REALLY heavy mount it was capable of supporting.

It is made by Houston-Fearless and, informed sources say, it's similar to, if not a forerunner of, the Quickset Gibralter. Can anyone confirm whether this is true or not? I hadn't really given it much thought, but these appear to be extraordinarily robust, probably far more than the average amateur would need.

I was going to sell it, but the same informed sources say that it's well worth keeping. I believe that just might be the case. It's a tank and can support literally a couple of hundred pounds.

See?

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#2 Erik D

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 12:50 PM

Yep, sure looks a lot like a Quickset Gibraltar:
http://www.quickset....F/gibraltar.pdf

The Gibraltar without center column is rated for 400 lbs, the one with geared center column 200 lbs.

Quickset tripods are very expensive new but used Samsons and Hercules model do show up often. Most of my scopes are refractors. I like my tripods at least 6 ft tall with geared center column. That way I don't have to be on my knees to look thru the scope. Geared center column let's me adjust the EP height to the exact point I want. A tripod without geared center column is less useful to me but may be fine for someone mounting an SCT and using adjustable height chair.

Don't know what you paid for yours. I purchased used Hercules model with geared center column for under $500. The Hercules is rated for 150 lbs. I have stood on mine with legs fully extended and center column raised when I weight over 155 lbs. I have thought about getting a Gibraltar in case I ever decide to go for a 200mm F9 TEC or TMB but that's looking less likely these days. I have only used my 6 inch F8 APO on Hercules Tripod outside once this year. The whole set up is over 90 lbs with tripod, mount and counter weights. I don't think I will need a heavier tripod unless I am retired and moved to a dark sky location. Would you ever need to mount a 200 lb load on yours?


ERik D

#3 desertrefugee

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 07:52 PM

I don't think I'd ever need to support 200 pounds, but know that a tripod that is ultra-stable (which this one is) under pretty much any load I'd want to throw at it is probably enough for me to keep it - and look into making a universal plate that will accommodate pretty much any mount.

But which mount? For that matter, which scope?

:question:

What a life. I'll figure something out. Thanks for the comments Eric - and the link!

#4 stars_in_my_eyes

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 04:38 PM

Yep, sure looks a lot like a Quickset Gibraltar:
http://www.quickset....F/gibraltar.pdf

The Gibraltar without center column is rated for 400 lbs, the one with geared center column 200 lbs.

Quickset tripods are very expensive new but used Samsons and Hercules model do show up often. Most of my scopes are refractors. I like my tripods at least 6 ft tall with geared center column. That way I don't have to be on my knees to look thru the scope. Geared center column let's me adjust the EP height to the exact point I want. A tripod without geared center column is less useful to me but may be fine for someone mounting an SCT and using adjustable height chair.

Don't know what you paid for yours. I purchased used Hercules model with geared center column for under $500. The Hercules is rated for 150 lbs. I have stood on mine with legs fully extended and center column raised when I weight over 155 lbs. I have thought about getting a Gibraltar in case I ever decide to go for a 200mm F9 TEC or TMB but that's looking less likely these days. I have only used my 6 inch F8 APO on Hercules Tripod outside once this year. The whole set up is over 90 lbs with tripod, mount and counter weights. I don't think I will need a heavier tripod unless I am retired and moved to a dark sky location. Would you ever need to mount a 200 lb load on yours?


ERik D


The geared column is the ONLY way to go.

Once I started using a Hecules with a geared column...I got spoiled very quickly.

The tripod shown does not have the geared column option...and as was mentioned is limited because of that.

#5 MrBruce

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 02:11 PM

Hi, I have one of these Houston Fearless Tripods. But, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to extend the legs???? Can anyone tell me the secret, tripod looks in good condition :) Tried a blow torch and a hammer and no success????? You can Email me at yobhip@verizon.net or answer here :)

#6 AlienFirstClass

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 04:29 PM

Yep, sure looks a lot like a Quickset Gibraltar:
http://www.quickset....F/gibraltar.pdf

The Gibraltar without center column is rated for 400 lbs, the one with geared center column 200 lbs.

Quickset tripods are very expensive new but used Samsons and Hercules model do show up often. Most of my scopes are refractors. I like my tripods at least 6 ft tall with geared center column. That way I don't have to be on my knees to look thru the scope. Geared center column let's me adjust the EP height to the exact point I want. A tripod without geared center column is less useful to me but may be fine for someone mounting an SCT and using adjustable height chair.

Don't know what you paid for yours. I purchased used Hercules model with geared center column for under $500. The Hercules is rated for 150 lbs. I have stood on mine with legs fully extended and center column raised when I weight over 155 lbs. I have thought about getting a Gibraltar in case I ever decide to go for a 200mm F9 TEC or TMB but that's looking less likely these days. I have only used my 6 inch F8 APO on Hercules Tripod outside once this year. The whole set up is over 90 lbs with tripod, mount and counter weights. I don't think I will need a heavier tripod unless I am retired and moved to a dark sky location. Would you ever need to mount a 200 lb load on yours?


ERik D


The geared column is the ONLY way to go.

Once I started using a Hecules with a geared column...I got spoiled very quickly.

The tripod shown does not have the geared column option...and as was mentioned is limited because of that.


Couldn't say it any better.

I agree...the geared column is the ONLY way to go.

The tripods without the column is only good for SCTs.

You rarely ever see the Gibraltar with a geared column...having that much weight that high is a safety concern.

#7 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 03:23 AM

I have several (too many) of the Houston Fearless, CECO, National Camera, or QuickSet Gibraltar robust tripods illustrated above. They have the Mitchell camera movie industry interfacing top, which dates from the 1930's or earlier. Those were and are the broadcast television industry standard tripod. I have one of the elevating (confusing terminology) Gibraltar also, as well as some of the Hercules. All are more rigid than the Linhof which Questar used in the past. The non-elevating crutch leg type illustrated are the most rigid. I have stood on them. I have, and have used, some of the big spring loaded (in elevation angle) mating heads for those also. One can make a fork mount very easily with those. Lock the tilt at the desired angle, and use the robust azimuth bearing in the head.

#8 starman3

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 03:24 PM

Hi, I just purchased a Gibralter tripod with center column, but it looks so heavy duty and thick compared to the other Gibralters I have seen and the guy selling it said it is an ITE, as is the head? Anyone know if ITE made a Gibralter tripod?.....Doubt it, but who knows what manufactures did in those days, especially ITE!

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