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Cave Mirror Registry

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#1 PiSigma

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 02:46 PM

As many of us know, Cave mirrors are usually inscribed on their edge with the words “Cave Optical Co.” a serial number, the focal ratio and focal length along with the date they were finished.

I would like to start a registry of Cave mirrors. I have started collecting mirror information from CN posts, the Cave Yahoo group, various CN, AM and eBay sales as well as the two Caves I own, and have put them in a spreadsheet ordered by inscription date.

In the column marked ‘Documentation’ I have indicated whether the source of my information was Personal Inspection, a Picture, or a text Description. One interesting facet of Cave mirrors is that some have “Cave Optical Co.” inscribed in cursive writing while some are a block letter engraving and I have a column noting this. On entries where I only had a description of the mirror engraving, the style of the engraving is usually not mentioned.

Where the mirror was part of a complete scope I have noted the model. Many of the mirrors where a model is not listed were for sale as a loose mirror not in an OTA.

Under the owner’s column I have noted what I know to be the owner’s name or forum user ID. I have only listed full names if that person commonly posts his full name in Internet forums. If you are listed and would like me to delete your name or add your real name please PM me ASAP and I’ll change this image.

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#2 PiSigma

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 02:47 PM

Some interesting conclusions can be drawn from what I have collected so far.

- Mirror serial numbers manufactured by Cave start with an “M”, mirrors refigured by Cave start with an “R”.

- At first it appears Cave probably just started at number 1 and went up, eventually getting into four digits. At some time prior to 6/18/1965 they started adding two digits for the year of mirror manufacture to the beginning of the four digit serial number making a six digit number. When this occurred it appears they may have started over at 1 again as the last recorded serial number without the year, 1898, is higher than the first with the year, 1485.

- The earlier mirrors with serial numbers not starting with the year were engraved in a different cursive script on the back, rather than the edge of the mirror.

- The four digit sequential part of the serial number did not start over at 0001 at the beginning of each year. It appears Cave went to 9999 and then rolled over to 0001 when they reached the 10,000th mirror (this occurred in late 1974).

- It does not appear that they rolled over from 9999 during the period when they were not adding the year to the serial number as it is unlikely they would have made 8000+ mirrors between April of 1961 and 6/18/1965. Further data is needed to estimate how many mirrors were produced during this early period with serial numbers that did not contain the year.

- Assuming Cave started over at serial number 0001 in the series where the year is part of the serial number one can assume Cave made about 14031+ mirrors by 9/25/1979 plus the ones made before the year was added to the serial number. There are statements on the Internet claiming Cave made 83,000 mirrors and 16,000 complete scopes. I don’t know what the source is for these statements. Given the above listing, and if one assumes these were originally all part of complete scopes, the 16,000 number seems reasonable. If Cave actually made 83,000 mirrors they must have made a lot with no serial numbers.

- There was not a specific date where the inscriptions changed from cursive to block lettering.

If the group here is interested in keeping this going and expanding it with new information I would volunteer to maintain this registry as I find this kind of information fascinating. If you own a Cave and are not in the above listing, or if you know of any errors in it, please PM me or post in this thread and I can update the list periodically. Actual pictures of your mirror inscriptions would be preferable so as to verify the information and the engraving style.

At first I thought about posting this to the Cave Yahoo group as there has been an attempt there to post pictures of Cave mirror inscriptions but it seems like more Cave owners find their way here to CN.

An example of the cursive style engraving on my 10” f/6 Custom Super Deluxe:

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#3 PiSigma

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 02:48 PM

An example of the block style engraving on my 8” f/8 Model B Deluxe. This one was made shortly after the ‘roll over’ from 9999 to 0001:

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#4 Compressorguy

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 03:57 PM

Jon, thank you for taking time to do this. You can add mine to the mix. S/n M762404, Dec 29th, 1976 Cave 10" F/6 Model C Custom Deluxe. Block letters.

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#5 Compressorguy

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 03:59 PM

Block letter style inscription.

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#6 Compressorguy

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 04:06 PM

Unusual for 1976?? Meade badged #300 guide scope and Meade badged 2" focuser. Previous owner stated it was ordered/supplied this way. Seems Cave would have removed the Meade decals and there is no evidence of Cave decals ever being on the scope.

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#7 Compressorguy

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 04:16 PM

I love the look of the older mirrors. The way they left the glass "clear" and with the radius edge. I find it unusual the way my mirror is finished. Mine has a frosted edge and bottom finish and the top edge has a distinct 1/8" bevel cut. Wonder when this practice started? Was it from a different supplier?

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#8 clintwhitman

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 09:57 PM

Jon You Just won the second ever
:dob: (AVEMAN AWARD!!! :dob:
:goodjob: :goodjob: :watching: :goodjob: :goodjob: :whee: :whee: :whee: :goodjob: :goodjob:
Work of art bro! Where is this going to live? Can you post it to the Cave Group files section?

#9 clintwhitman

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 10:00 PM

Also I have a few more mirrors from the 1960s floating around here I will have to dig out.

#10 PiSigma

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 10:32 PM

Thanks for the addition Scott. I'll let this thread run for a while and post an updated list at some point.

#11 PiSigma

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 10:47 PM

WOW! A Caveman award! I am truly honored Clint. Thank you. :bow:

I would be interested in adding any others you have - especially from the 60s. As you can see the list is pretty sparse for the 50s and 60s but well represented for the 70s.

As for where this list should live, I'm open to suggestions. Posting it to the Cave Yahoo group files section is something I've considered. I'm not sure if that allows me to replace (overwrite) earlier versions of the registry with an updated copy. I don't know if I want to put the actual Excel file out in the wild as I'm afraid others will modify it and there will be different versions floating around. That is one reason I posted this as a JPEG image, although someone could type all of the information into a new spreadsheet. I need to add a date at the top so everyone knows when it was last updated.

It seems maybe more Cave owners end up here in the Classics forum of CN than on the Yahoo group so I thought people who come across a Cave for the first time might find this thread first.

I'm OK with posting an updated list image in this thread from time to time as I add new serial numbers. After a certain time, I'm not sure how long, it looks like you cannot edit an earlier post so I would have to post updates farther down this thread rather than being able to update the first post.

#12 Datapanic

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 02:46 AM

I'm for keeping the list on a). Your PC and B). this forum.

I have been wondering when Clint would issue another Caveman Award - glad you got it!

#13 Lew Chilton

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 04:45 AM

Jon,

Very cool idea! You can add my 8-inch Cave refigured mirror to the list if you like. The serial no. is R 1589. The engraving is on the back of my mirror, not the edge. Is that unusual? See picture attached...

Lew Chilton

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#14 Ham Radio

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 08:28 AM

Jon, if you do decide to go the Excel route, you can lock the file so now one can mess with it, or password it so only a few people can add to it (under your supervision of course).

:)

#15 Dean Norris

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 06:33 PM

Jon,

Here's the information on my Cave. Thank you for doing this work. Great idea.


M 716372 May 1971 10" F/6 cursive model Standard Dean Norris

Next time I clean the mirror, I will image and post a pic.

#16 PiSigma

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 06:51 PM

Thanks Dan. I'm really very proud to receive a Caveman award! I agree with you - I would like to maintain the registry myself and post updates here.

Lew - thanks, that is obviously a very early one. I have only seen the engraving on the back rather than the edge on these very early mirrors before Cave started adding the year to the beginning of the serial number. I have also noticed these rear engraved mirrors only have the month and year of manufacture and not the day. I had mistakenly put down a date of 7/1/1954 for M213 but just went back and looked at the picture for that and it was just July 1954 so I'll change that. I'm not a handwriting expert but the cursive style on these early mirrors is different than the cursive on the edge engraved mirrors. All five of these early mirrors that I have pictures of appear to be engraved by the same person.

It would be very interesting to find more between M1898 and Clint's M651485 to determine: a) how many mirrors were made in this early period and B) when did the change occur and why.

Thanks for the suggestion Rod. If I do end up posting the file to the Cave Yahoo group that might be one way to go.

And whoo hooo, I just won the Phoenix NASCAR race with Jeff Gordon (I work at Hendrick Motorsports on the 5 and 24 cars).

#17 PiSigma

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 07:21 PM

Thanks Dean. Do you know what day your mirror was made? If not I'll wait for the picture. Cave was really cranking out the mirrors in May of 1971.

#18 PiSigma

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 07:25 PM

Dan,

I just realized I have your 8" Model B Deluxe but not your Lightweight Deluxe. I know the Horsetrail Cave had no serial number.

#19 Datapanic

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 08:00 PM

Dan,

I just realized I have your 8" Model B Deluxe but not your Lightweight Deluxe. I know the Horsetrail Cave had no serial number.


I'll get the Lightweight Deluxe serial number next time I pull it out. I shoulda done that the last time it was out but forgot!

Speaking of the Model B and the Lightweight, I recently switched OTA's and Mounts with the Piers - Now the Lightweight f/7 tube is using the Model B mount and the Lightweight Pier. The Piers are different heights depending on the F-ratio, so to prevent the OTA from hitting the legs, I had to do it that way...

#20 apfever

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 09:04 PM

I'm in.

cursive writing.
#749223
F/8 47 1/8" F.L May 7 1974

1975 6" Student Deluxe.
Current (2nd) owner Neil Barnett

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#21 greju

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 09:31 PM

Jon, great idea and congrats on the race! Oh, and the award-well that speaks for itself. :lol: If you could include my Cave mirror to your list maybe it would be helpfull. I had previously stated that my mirror was 1967 but after doing some research and with the advent of your most generous offer to record these mirrors my serial number coincides with the date(s) already listed and it is dated Oct, 1961 and not as I erroneously previously stated 1967. When I had first looked at the mirror I mistook the 1 for a 7 but since that time and after closer inspection and research it is indeed a 1. The info is in cursive on the back of the mirror and IIRC looks to be in the same hand as Lews. My serial number is M 2004. Figured by Tom himself-I don't know? Another reason to make me think 1961 vs. 1967 is the Pancro label on the back has only the two numbers - 39- for the mailing code. The USPS did not start using 5 digit zip codes untill 1963. One bit of trivia I have ucovered is there is a couple of dates thrown around as to when Alika Herring worked for Cave. According to one source Tom Cave himself said Herring left the first time in 1959 but another two sources, one of whom worked at Cave, said he left in about Oct. of 1961. Could he have done the final figuring of my mirror as it has been said he did the final figuring of all Cave mirrors when he was there? I won't go there,yet! :lol: This thread has got me even more excited about my 6 inch mirror and I will dig it out and get you a picture so you can accurately record it. Thanks Jon!

#22 L. Regira

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 09:36 PM

Here is my mirror picture.

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#23 PiSigma

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 09:36 PM

Thanks Dan, whenever you get around to it, no rush.

Your swapping around sounds like the right way to get the components in the best places. I was surprised to find my 8" f/8's pier tube was taller than my 10" f/6 (25.5" vs. 22"). But I shouldn't have been surprised as the tube on the 8" is 66" while it is only 62" on the 10".

#24 L. Regira

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 09:38 PM

Here is the serial number.

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#25 PiSigma

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 09:41 PM

Thanks Neil.






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