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Edmund Scientific and Sam Brown

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#1 danmdak

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 01:11 PM

Back when I was a beginner I was captivated by Sam Browns detailed books available from Edmund Scientific. Still have most of the ones I purchased in the mid 70's and have even been able to pick up a few on ebay that I didnt have when I was starting. The illustrations are superb! But who is Sam Brown? Did he write for any other company? Did he only write for Edmund? Did he even exist or was it a group of authors/illustrators that Edmund comissioned and the company gave the name Sam Brown to? These books are still awesome to me... still reference them when I get into an area that I am weak on. To me, Browns books are the "hardware" side and Burnhams book is the "software" side of the astronomy hobby. If Brown did exist, why hasn't he been spotlighted in the astro journals? Was he just ignored like Burnham because he wasnt one of the gang ? It would be so interesting to see a biography of the guy. Anybody out there have any info???

#2 Shadowalker

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 06:04 AM

The Wikipedia lists 6 Sam Browns in the disambiguation page. None of them are authors or astronomers or scientists.

#3 Tony Flanders

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 06:46 AM

I just asked Dennis di Cicco (Senior Editor, Sky & Telescope), who knows everyone and everything.

Sam Brown lived in Ohio, also contributed many articles to Popular Machanics, and was famously reclusive. His house is still standing, and recognizable from some of the photos in his Popular Mechanics articles.

Dennis has a whole file on Sam Brown at home, but that's enough for now.

Tony Flanders
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#4 danmdak

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 09:22 AM

Thank you. I am living in Ohio...do you know where Brown lived in Ohio? If it is close I may be able to do some digging on my end here. At least I now know he was a real person, and a recluse. (What is it about this hobby that attracts recluses? Others have described myself as one, altho I do not consider it true in my case).
Hmmm....I was always amazed he listed Akron Ohio throughout his books whenever he needed to illustrate an example of time zone correction, etc. ...my hunch is he lived in or near Akron. That is almost 2 hours away from me now, but it was only an hour from where I grew up reading his books.
Also, since wikipedia doesn't list any astronomer Sam Browns, perhaps Mr. Di Cicco could write an entry for him there? Just a thought.

#5 blb

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 10:36 AM

I loved Sam Brown's books. I still have three or four of them from my youth. I wish I had more of them now. A few years ago I saw a large paperbacked book that was a compiilation of all of his books. I wish I could find that too. Maybe mr. Di Cicco could do a write up about Mr. Brown, since he already has a bunch of research on him. That would really be interesting.

#6 danmdak

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 01:09 PM

The compilation is titled "All about Telescopes". But, not all of the stuff is in there that is in all of the smaller 40 page books. You can often find his books on ebay, usually going for too much, but patience on your part will get you them fairly cheap.

#7 desertstars

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 03:26 PM

I had a couple of the smaller books when I was young, but have lost track of them.

Do any of you happen to have a list of the titles to entire set?

#8 GeneT

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 08:08 PM

I just asked Dennis di Cicco (Senior Editor, Sky & Telescope), who knows everyone and everything.

Sam Brown lived in Ohio, also contributed many articles to Popular Machanics, and was famously reclusive. His house is still standing, and recognizable from some of the photos in his Popular Mechanics articles.

Dennis has a whole file on Sam Brown at home, but that's enough for now.

Tony Flanders
Associate Editor, Sky & Telescope


Thanks for the information. Sam Brown captured a young 8 year old's imagination and ignited a life long love of astronomy. :banjodance: :rimshot: :banjodance:

#9 danmdak

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 11:39 AM

Well, there were a LOT of them, they ran from 4 pages to over 200 pages. I do not have a complete list but here is what I have: All about Telescopes, Mounting your telescope, Fun With Optics, Homebuilt Telescopes, Time in Astronomy, Optical drawing Devices, The Optical Bench, Fun With Optics, How to Observe the Sun (4 pages), Popular Optics. I dont have Collimators and Collimation, All about Magnifiers, How to Build Opaque projectors, Telescope Optics, Telescopes you can Build, Photography with your Telescope, How to Build Slide Projectors, Fun with fresnel lenses. There are many more he wrote but I dont have all the titles.

#10 blb

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 02:01 PM

I have four of these books from the "Popular Optics Librery" published by Edmund Scientific and authored by Sam Brown. They are:
Time in Astronomy #9054
Telescope Optics #9074
Photography with your Telescope #9078
Mounting your Telescope #9082

After doing a little research, I found that "All About Telescopes" by Sam Brown is #9094. I have not found a complete list to the booklets yet.

#11 sarastro

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 02:45 PM

The compilation is titled "All about Telescopes". But, not all of the stuff is in there that is in all of the smaller 40 page books. You can often find his books on ebay, usually going for too much, but patience on your part will get you them fairly cheap.


Many of Sam Brown's books are still available at Scientifics Online. I bought a new copy of "All About Telescopes" there and many of the smaller booklets are available, but you have to search using the title because there is no author attribution. Even the astronomy book section does not list them all. Check it out before you purchase a grossly overpriced beat up edition on the bay.

#12 Roger Sinnott

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 04:14 PM

For a real hoot, those who have a collection of the Sam Brown booklets should check out the evolution of hair styles. Many of the drawings that appeared in booklets from the 1950s and early 60s were used again when All About Telescopes was compiled in the 1970s. The equipment and labeling in these drawings remained identical, but the men acquired more hair on the tops of their heads, as well as sideburns!

Roger

#13 desertstars

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 11:28 AM

Thanks for the information.

I recall as a youngster having Time in Astronomy,Telescope Optics, and All About Telescopes. Somehow this stuff (and a lot of other things) disappeared when my family relocated to Arizona in the late '70s. Every now and then I find my way back to some of these things, and it's like being reunited with old friends.

Many thanks for the assistance. :grin:

#14 jsiska

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 08:52 PM

I have Photography with your Telescope, Time in Astronomy, and All about Telescopes. The latter book is my second copy. The glue in the binding of the first book failed and the pages fell out. I had the same problem with this second copy; however, I was able to successfully to repair it with hot glue.

#15 blb

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 01:56 PM

Since we are talking about Sam Brown, I thought you would like to see how his pipe fitting mounts influenced me. This is a picture of such a mount I made in the mid 60's after reading his booklets. It is an equatorial mount. I made the wood base in shop class to make a wedge that would allow that 45 degree elbow to become 36 degrees, my latitude. It still works great today.

So while I am at it, let me say thank you to S&T in the school library (they sparked the intrest). Thank you to Edmund Scientific for the telescope parts that allowed me to build the telescope and a BIG thanks to Sam Brown for the knowledge to make it all happen.

This is the 4.25" reflector that started it all for me.

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#16 Rick Woods

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 02:17 PM

I have an old Edmund Mag 5 Star Atlas. It doesn't say Sam Brown on it, but did he have a hand in it?

#17 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 07:37 AM

Since we are talking about Sam Brown, I thought you would like to see how his pipe fitting mounts influenced me. This is a picture of such a mount I made in the mid 60's after reading his booklets. It is an equatorial mount. I made the wood base in shop class to make a wedge that would allow that 45 degree elbow to become 36 degrees, my latitude. It still works great today.

So while I am at it, let me say thank you to S&T in the school library (they sparked the intrest). Thank you to Edmund Scientific for the telescope parts that allowed me to build the telescope and a BIG thanks to Sam Brown for the knowledge to make it all happen.

This is the 4.25" reflector that started it all for me.


I mounted a my 6" f8 reflector on an equatorial pipe mount built from Sam Brown's All About telescopes". Used it for many years.

Rich (RLTYS)

#18 danmdak

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 11:54 PM

I have an old Edmund Mag 5 Star Atlas. It doesn't say Sam Brown on it, but did he have a hand in it?

I sure think so, the drawings sure look like his. Edmund came out with a Mag 6 star atlas too, but that was done by Terrence Dickonson I believe, they are completely different atlases.

#19 Joe Bergeron

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 01:58 AM

For a real hoot, those who have a collection of the Sam Brown booklets should check out the evolution of hair styles. Many of the drawings that appeared in booklets from the 1950s and early 60s were used again when All About Telescopes was compiled in the 1970s. The equipment and labeling in these drawings remained identical, but the men acquired more hair on the tops of their heads, as well as sideburns!


The hipster haircuts those guys gained in the 70s are amusing. I wish my copies were pre-sideburns to retain the full retro flavor of those booklets. I like to look at them and think about the vastly simpler days of amateur astronomy when a guy could geek out at the thought of having actual slow motion controls or a clock drive on his mighty 3" refractor.

#20 George N

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 05:23 PM

For a real hoot, those who have a collection of the Sam Brown booklets should check out the evolution of hair styles.....!


The hipster haircuts those guys gained in the 70s are amusing. I wish my copies were pre-sideburns to retain the full retro flavor of those booklets. I like to look at them and think about the vastly simpler days of amateur astronomy when a guy could geek out at the thought of having actual slow motion controls or a clock drive on his mighty 3" refractor.


I get a kick out of the photos of observers from the 1950’s and earlier showing men mostly wearing a jacket and tie while observing (plus a 6-inch Newt of course). Or maybe it was only the “serious observers” who were so formal? :)






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