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#301 JEH

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:23 AM

I am the original owner of the Student Model 6", buying off the showroom floor on Anaheim St. I remember by father haggling with Cave (I think Cave Sr.) so he may have dropped a refigured mirror into it made by this unknown Merrill Snell. I used the scope until about 1985 and have had it in storage since then. I unpacked it to write a story for my club's newsletter (Gemini, Minnesota Astronomical Society) The scope has travelled back and forth across the country several time and is still very solid.

I may try to restore it as a retirement project this coming summer.

#302 JEH

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:25 PM

Attached is a photo of the info on the mirror described in the earlier post. Some of the info looks redundant because both the original and a reflection of it were captured.

#303 JEH

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:35 PM

Oops! Here is the photo

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#304 PiSigma

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:25 PM

Hi JEH,

Thank you for the information. Another early series mirror! I will add it.

I don't know who Morrel (or Murrel) Snell was. The engraving of this name is in a block lettering and looks to me to be done by a different hand than the rest of the inscription. What is unusual to me is that it is a refigure ("R") marked mirror yet you bought it right out of the shop. I'd have to go back and re read this thread but I think we had another "R" prefix mirror that was also sold to someone by Cave that was not one they sent in to be refigured. I would guess Morrel Snell was the original owner of that mirror.

#305 PiSigma

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

Jon - minor add to my mirror's information when you do the next update - you can add "cursive" for the engraving style. All the best, John


Thanks John. I don't know how I missed that!

#306 Datapanic

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:43 PM

Hi JEH,

Thank you for the information. Another early series mirror! I will add it.

I don't know who Morrel (or Murrel) Snell was. The engraving of this name is in a block lettering and looks to me to be done by a different hand than the rest of the inscription. What is unusual to me is that it is a refigure ("R") marked mirror yet you bought it right out of the shop. I'd have to go back and re read this thread but I think we had another "R" prefix mirror that was also sold to someone by Cave that was not one they sent in to be refigured. I would guess Morrel Snell was the original owner of that mirror.


Message #5401201 has another instance of a refigured mirror in a factory Cave.

#307 PiSigma

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:53 PM

Hi Clint! Thanks for the nice words about the Registry. I agree it has provided us with some fascinating information to draw new conclusions from.

I wasn't going to record R896 until I got more information from Glen but after going back and enhancing his photo I'm almost certain the year is 1957 not 1954. This would place 896 in the proper date order and not "break" the number/date order. I haven't had one yet that didn't fall in line correctly! The reason I think it is 1957 is that this engraving appears to be from the first ~1000 mirrors that were supposedly engraved by Tom Sr. If you look at the engraving on M458 below for example, look at the focal length - 47 3/4. Tom Sr. engraved his sevens with a drop serif at the top left of the "7". As I look again at R896 I'm fairly sure the number really is R896 and the date is July 1957 so I'm going to record it this way. I would like to know what the other engraving is on R896 so hopefully Glen can provide that at some point. It also appears that Tom Sr. wasn't the only engraver that did his sevens that way. Many other mirror pictures I have, even ones that are in block lettering, have the 7 engraved with the top serif.

I agree about the point of Tom not allowing anyone at his shop to engrave their names in mirrors. While we have seen some names engraved they have not been those of any known opticians at Cave and are always in a different script than the original Cave engraving.

I would love to read that manuscript / biography that Lew has!! Lew are you reading this?

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#308 Glen A W

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:09 PM

Sorry I did not realize there was confusion there, but you are right, it is 1957. I had been out for a couple of days and just now checked the forum.

I see the scope all the time and will have another look once things open up again down there in a couple of weeks. I will note that the mirror has a sticker identifying it as having the coating done by some firm out in CA, I believe - I can't remember the name, but you are probably familiar with it. I believe that coating is still on there, and though it was slightly corroded around the mirror clips, I have to say it took the nasty scrubbing I gave it remarkably well. The scope had been in a basement for decades. GW

Ps - attaching pic of scope

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#309 PiSigma

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:14 PM

Thanks for the confirmation on the year.

All Cave mirrors were coated by Pancro so maybe it still has the Pancro sticker on it. A few of these early mirrors also have a date written on the Pancro sticker in pencil.

#310 clintwhitman

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:16 AM

Hi Jon.
Here is another question, I am around some of the older guys that were at the shop back in the 50s and have been told by Ed Byers and by William Llano that Tom Senior made many early mirrors. I wonder which ones ??? or if there is a way to tell. According to both these gentlemen a Tom Senior mirror was the one you wanted to have back then...
:foreheadslap:

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#311 PiSigma

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:52 PM

That's interesting Clint since Richard Norton, in his Cave article in S&T of Aug. 1994, implies Tom Sr. didn't make any mirrors. He states that Tom Sr. ran the business affairs of Cave Optical up to his death in Sept. 1957 and that his wonderful handwriting was the reason he scribed the Cave Optical signature on the back of the early mirrors. Norton expresses regret at not having asked Cave Sr. to scribe a mirror for him in Cave's Old English Style. No mention of him actually making the mirror. Based on this I'm left wondering if Tom Sr. did make any mirrors.....

#312 Glen A W

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:33 PM

Ah, Pancro, that is it, indeed. GW

#313 JasonCA

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:26 PM

Got my mirror back today and as promised, here's the information and a picture.

10"
f/8
Mfg Date: March 2, 1965
Ser: M651204

Jason Burger

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#314 PiSigma

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:23 PM

Jason,

Thank you. That is now the earliest six digit serial number we have seen. This closes up the '62-'65 gap in the registry by a few more months.

The engraver appears to be the same as Clint's M651485 and my M716851, both of which are excellent mirrors. You probably have an exceptional one there.

#315 clintwhitman

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:41 AM

Jason The new old mirror is really close to my 10 f8. A few semi famous!! old time astronomers have told me my 1965 mirror is one in a million as far as optical quality, I think you will be blown away by yours. Great Job finding a very cool telescope!!

Jon From what I have read, what Lew Chilton, John Pons and Tom Dobbins have told me was that Tom Senior singed all the mirrors from Cave optical and was known as Tom Cave until his death in 1957 when Tom Jr. Became Tom Cave. It has been said Tom Sr personally inscribed every mirror with his Old English signature. After Tom Senor passed away Thomas Roland Cave took on the task of signing the mirrors. I have read post by Norton and a few other guys that worked making mirrors at Cave and they have all said this was true and that Tom didn't let guys working in the shop sign their names on any mirrors.
(aveman

#316 wfj

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:40 PM

Thanks for the addition William. I'll get it in the next update.

The lower case C, O and C in cAVE oPTICAL cO. is interesting. I don't know why they did that. Another question for one of the mirror makers that worked at Cave during that time.


Thanks Jon for your work on this list, and for the preponderance of "Cave kremlinology". If it wasn't for the education of this list, I'd have been ignorant of why I was getting nice, sharp views of Jupiter details that put my very excellent C8 to shame, and are only exceeded by my 12.5" Discovery mirror.

I thought it was an Edmunds, but the mirror cell, focuser, and tube turned out to be identical to other Caves. The two oddiments were a Novak spider and brass end rings to the tube. So I examined the mirror (didn't want to touch it since I was getting such good views), and found an explanation/surprise.

Here's another surprise. I've been doing research on who commissioned the mirror through local astronomy oldsters. Seems that there was a special "interest" for this one. So there may be a meaning behind the lowercase "c"/"o"/"c". Thus a potential new bit of "kremlinology".

Oh, and for some reason, the mirror cell's bottom was sealed in "Gaskoid" cork gasket material, both seating the mirror and sealing off the bottom. Never seen anything like it before.

#317 Datapanic

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:10 PM

Sounds interesting Dan. Looking forward to pictures.

And sorry, by two 8" f/5s in a row I meant you and William. It seemed odd for two in this size to come up at the same time.


Turns out it's not an f/5, it's actually an f/4.5 - the 8" Lightweight "Dual-Capability" RFT.

M-727431 with a date of May 12, 1972.

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#318 Calypte

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:41 PM

M-727431 with a date of May 12, 1972.

It would be interesting to be able to assign the name of a specific optician. My 1973 8-inch f/6 has the same lettering style. I picked up my scope personally at Cave's shop, and I was introduced to several people, but I'd have to hear some names to be able to say, "Yes, I met him!" Alas, I never met Tom Cave himself. My 8-inch has received many compliments over the years for its optics, and even people at public star parties have often pronounced it "the best" after seeing Saturn or Jupiter. One memorable night at SDAA's Tierra del Sol in about 1985, I was viewing with the scope, and I could hear a guy with a Meade SCT apologizing to his guests for the poor view of Saturn, blaming it on seeing. After listening to these excuses for awhile, I told them, "Take a look at THIS!" If dropping jaws make a sound, we heard it that night.

#319 PiSigma

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:14 PM

Thanks Dan. Looking forward to some pics of the whole scope.

I think it's time for another Registry update.

#320 PiSigma

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:17 PM

Yes Calypte, it would be great to figure out and assign individual opticians names to the various styles of engraving. Unfortunately we don't have any definitive information other than that Thomas Cave Sr. engraved the early mirrors in his distinctive style.

#321 PiSigma

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:23 PM

5 new mirrors added. Changes from the 12/24/2012 edition are highlighted in yellow.

A significant addition is M651204, which is now the earliest 6 digit number known.

A higher resolution version is here:

Cave Mirror Registry 1/20/2013

A total of 141 mirrors are now in the registry.

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#322 Datapanic

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:51 AM

Thanks Dan. Looking forward to some pics of the whole scope.

I think it's time for another Registry update.


You know me - there will be one with lots of pics!

Thanks for keeping up your list!

Meanwhile, I'm listening to my new favorite guitarist - Ewan Dobson (no relation).

#323 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:42 AM

Great list and growing fast. :D

Rich (RLTYS)

#324 eheiny

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:12 PM

I just pulled the 10" mirror out of my scope to send it out for recoating and I found some markings scribed on the back of the mirror I hadn't noticed previously. I purchased the homemade scope ~ 20 years ago but apparently he used a Cave mirror. Now I know why it works well...
The markings aren't obvious on the ground glass back. Feel free to add it to the Cave registry
M-1705
MADE BY CAVE OPTICAL CO
67 3/4" F/L F/7
JUNE 1960

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#325 PiSigma

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:21 PM

Hi Ed,

Thank you for the addition. That is obviously an early one.

The engraving is different from the other early, back engraved mirrors I've seen in that it is all block lettering.






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