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Criterion Days

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#51 drwho


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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:28 AM

Thank you for writing about Criterion! It's a wonderful look back.

I remember my dad wanting a new telescope and reading Sky&Telescope for a couple years. One day, some packages arrived; it turned out to be an RV-6! I'll never forget him getting us up late at night during summer and fall looking at the moon and planets, and nebulae like the Horsehead. Over the years it moved with us three times, getting less use until it was gathering dust in the basement. I was the most interested in it and a few years ago he said I could have it. It's cleaned up quite a bit and on a Go-To mount right now. It's in our living room in a place of honor. I've got several telescopes presently, but the RV-6 is my favorite visual scope!


#52 John John

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:37 PM

Great article. I purchased a D8 at W.H. plant back in the 70's and it was a wonderful scope. I guess I was one of the lucky owners, but the optics were great.
I offen think of my 1st SCT and all the great views I enjoyed.
Again, nicely done.

#53 Masvingo


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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:55 PM

I purchased a D8 at W.H. plant back in the 70's and it was a wonderful scope. I guess I was one of the lucky owners, but the optics were great.
I offen think of my 1st SCT and all the great views I enjoyed.

Good to hear! :waytogo:

#54 astrogeezer41


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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:11 PM

Hi JerryK,

Isn't it wonderful what a good 6"f/8 Newtonian can do?
I've had mine (homemade) for 30+ years and it still surprises me with what it can show on a good night.

I still think that, all things considered, they are the best general purpose visual scope that a person can have.

Sounds like you have a great one!

#55 djeber2



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Posted 15 December 2012 - 01:47 PM

Great, great read.
Thanks for sharing your memories and experiences.


I agree thanks for sharing.

#56 4dmaze


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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:08 AM

Wow, this article brings back some memories. I became aware of Criterion through an article in Omni magazine about the new 4" in . I ordered the (impressive) brochure and then bought the Dynamax 6. You guys must have been swamped by the new found attention from that article.

I think it took almost 2 months to get the scope. What a dreadful wait it was. A friend of mine teased for not spending the extra bucks to get the 8" ($610. vs $750.) but I wanted it to be portable and that panned out pretty well. I can still quickly throw it in my car and head for the dark desert. Just in the last year I got decent photos of the Venus transit, the lunar eclipse and the annular solar.

When I first received it, it had a shower cap as a lens cover. When I sent it back for repair a year later to fix the focuser and it came back with a nice black cover. I have always wondered about that. Can you shed any light on why you guys were using shower caps? :)



#57 Gil V

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 05:35 PM

The truth is that we ran out of stuff all the time. When we ran out of the hard plastic front lens covers, someone went to the store and bought shower caps. When we ran out of the cylindrical DEC slow motion knobs, we found a local alrernative plastic knob. Stuff like that happened all the time. It's a wonder any two scopes are the same.

Oddly enough, my planning and inventory skills now would have been a major help to the plant back then. I just didn't have that kind of training when I worked there.

#58 johnnyha


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 04:31 PM

Wow Gil, what an unexpected surprise your article was! Great reading on a rainy night here, beautifully written - thanks! :bow:

#59 Dennis_S253


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 11:32 PM

Oh Gil, I never thanked you for your answer. So thanks....
One night, I will set down and try it. Clear skies...

#60 JimP


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Posted 25 December 2012 - 08:58 AM

Wonderful article! I bought my RV-6 in 1968. I took it outside and the first object I looked at was Jupiter. I was astonished! The detail was beyond anything I had even hoped for. It was a truly fantastic telescope with fantastic optics. Later, in the early 70's I bought a Dynamax 8. I bought it because of the quality of my RV-6 and because I was able to mount it on the case it came in with the attachments for an equatorial mount. A Celestron would have required the purchase of a wedge and a tripod in addition to the scope, something I could not afford. I remember showing my Dad the Moon with it. He remarked that one crater looked like a deer's hoof print in mud. I wondered what he was looking at so I looked through the eyepiece and, sure enough, Alphonsus was on the terminator filled with shadow, looking for all the world like a deer's hoof print!
Thanks for the article. It brings back lots of good memories.


Jim Phillips

#61 okieav8r


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Posted 26 December 2012 - 05:30 PM

Wow Gil, what an unexpected surprise your article was! Great reading on a rainy night here, beautifully written - thanks! :bow:

+1 I would love to see more articles like this one on CN. :waytogo:

#62 PitchHitter



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Posted 01 January 2013 - 08:39 PM

I appreciate this article and the admission that some Criterion Scopes were good and some were bad because it is extremely important to know fixing most is more than they are worth.

A friend (Bob Goff) from college talked me into becoming a dealer for the SCT series and I regretted every DynaMax I sold. One day a friend had one on display with our club at a local shopping mall when the eyepiece barrel separated from the lip and fell into the scope. I had to remove the corrector plate to retrieve it. There I found out why it performed rather poorly. The corrector was just a piece of tangent(13)cut unfigured green window glass. I first started doing business with a Bob Krewalk and then after all the lies and broken promises I was turned over to a Bob Walker. I told him it was so amazing how much he sounded like Krewalk. Of course it was one and the same! Every DynaMax I sold and several besides had to be repaired and I ended up doing them all on my own dime gratis. By the time I was having problems with the dealership Bob Goff was gone and apologized for getting me into the mess. The only DynaMax I saw that performed well mechanically and optically was Bob Goff's personal one that he went around signing up dealerships with. Meade had a chance to hire me to fix a bunch of their problems too (but didn't). Celestron is the only one that I never saw a problem with. I own a circa 1970 C-8 and a 2000 Meade 10" that after three tries now does very well in a C-11 mount. I would never ever buy a new Meade without inspection. I find DynaMax 8's for $200-$50 but find they are not worth my time. I have a friend that got one ($50) and lucked out. Beyond a common bearing problem (mis-machined) his optics were done when BG was there supervising.

#63 Mike B

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:15 PM

My parents bought me a RV6 in 1974 after I drooled over the ads over the months leading to the purchase.

I & my buddies drooled over those same ads, but never ended up with one. :bawling: In fact, Gil, i ended up with the same scope YOU started with, the 4-1/4" Edmund Newtonian on an EQ mounting!

Yet the RV-6 (as well as the tantalizing RV-8) was the inspiration for an order placed with Edmund for their 8" kit- blank, tool, & powders. It eventually (and briefly) turned into a working 8" F7 with jaw-dropper views of M57, its "first-light" DSO.

Thanks for taking the time to write (& post) that article- a VERY enjoyable read! A "dream job" it was, indeed!
:waytogo: mike b

#64 lookbackintime


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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:38 PM

I was absolutley amazed to find this article! I still remember waiting what seemed like forever to receive my RV-6. Loved the scope at the time. It engendered a life-long interest in astronomy and physics. Wild to see how they were made. Thanks for the detailed account of your time there.

#65 Bonco



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Posted 18 March 2013 - 03:29 PM

Great article and entertaining read. For me Criterion means RV6. Here's mine that I purchased around 1960. The optics are amazing and everything is functional almost like new after some simple restoration efforts. Bill

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#66 Gil V

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 03:21 PM

Dude, that RV looks like it left the factory yesterday.

#67 murphb


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Posted 09 April 2013 - 07:26 PM

Gil, Thanks so much for posting this article. Funny, how our memories are so like fine wine, devoid of pain. It was great to see the pics, and your memories of a mom and pop company. I remember the days of early telescope purchase where a 3 month wait was typical. I, like many others have purchased another cat Dynamax 8, trying to bring back the old days. And these are the old days aren't they now!

#68 GaryM


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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:49 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. Thanks so much Jil!

After always wanting a Dynamax 8, I finally and recently acquired one in really nice condition with its golden pyramid tripod and wedge. The cell was marked 760855 (1976?) and the fork base 2287. Just wondering Jil if maybe you had worked on this one? That would be really cool! Also wondering if at that time the correctors were coated? Just a couple of days ago I viewed Saturn and was thrilled that it gave a very nice image.


#69 GaryM


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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:51 PM

Ooops, misspelled your name, sorry Gil!

#70 derangedhermit



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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:11 PM

A most interesting read addressing the company's background and evolution from a personal perspective. And I must add that my connection with Criterion products dates almost from their beginnings in the telescope business as in my youth I was the proud owner of one of their very early 4" alt-az head Dynascope Newtonians, the first scope the company ever offered, back about 1956-57. I still have its optics around here some place.


Like this one on Craigslist? Has photos, sold as an antique. Called a "Vintage Criterion concave lens telescope" :)

#71 Gil V

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:30 PM

The only way I worked on that scope is if it was returned for some reason. That serial number predates my time in the Dynamax assembly area.

We sent out some of our correctors for coating, perhaps a bit less than half of them. I never was a fan of a coated corrector when I worked there, but I'm glad the one I have now has the MgF2 coating.

#72 GaryM


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Posted 02 July 2013 - 07:16 PM

Thanks Gil for your reply. Do you think I got one of the original Criterion designed and manufactured correctors before the conflict with Celestron and the redesign?

#73 Gil V

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 11:12 AM

There was never any redesign of the corrector that I was aware of. just a payday for a bunch of lawyers, probably.

#74 Norm Meyer

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 06:47 PM

I bought a Criterion RV-6 back in 1966. I bought it on their
easy payment plan. When it arrived I was a bit disappointed. :bawling:
I opened the box that contained the tube expecting a white
tube and but it was grey. There was a note inside explaining
they had temporarily run out of the white tubes so they upgraded it to the deluxe tube and it was. It had a beautiful grey krinkle finish I came to really like that
tube. I ended up lending it to a high school student for awhile. Well his brother knocked the tube over
and broke a big chunk out of it. The youngsters father drove down to Hartford (from Palmer MA) to get a replacement tube but all they had were the white ones. So
I finally had a white tube but really missed the grey krinkle one. I ended up selling the scope in 1974 after I
moved to Maine. I really wish I would have kept that scope
but I needed the money at the time. :foreheadslap: Everytime I see an RV-6
for sale I am tempted to buy it. So far I've been able to resist it for how long I don't know? :help:

#75 Gil V

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 10:02 AM

Although the nostalgia factor is there, I would buy a dob - 8" or larger - before I'd buy an RV-6. Not much more, plus it would be all shiny and new!

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