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#26 Datapanic

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:11 AM

Parks would probably be around now if they used a little business sense and realized that their prospective customers do like dobs and started offering them in their lineup of scopes, at reasonable prices. But that was the problem - their prices weren't reasonable, their bottom of the line "Astrolight AZ6 System" went for $799! For $1050, the EQ6 didn't even have a Clock Drive. I think they were too stuck up on their brand name and not paying attention to how much more the competition offered for the same prices. Throw in a bad economy where everybody wants value for their money and there you have it - another one bites the dust.

#27 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:59 AM

Yep.

While I've often said that I "don't like Dobsonians", the simple truth is that if I ever want a truly large Newtonian, I'm either going to have to have a permanent installation or I'm going to have to build a bloody Dob. ;)

You can bet it'll track and rotate its focuser, though! :grin:
-Tim.


Tracking is nice but Dobsonians really don't need a rotating focuser.. :poke:

Jon

#28 CHASLX200

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:14 AM

I dealed with Parks many times over the years in the 80's and 90's. I had them build me a OTA around a Telescopics 12.5" F/8 mirror i had waited on for about 2 years. Telescopics closed the doors soon after i got my mirror. It took many calls and had to get SKY-Tele on Telescopics butt to get my mirror. Parks did a great job on the OTA and rotating rings, but that OTA was a back breaker at around 140 lbs.

I always loved the Parks tubes.

Chas

#29 rmollise

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:07 AM

I wouldn't need to sell many of anything if the tools to make things didn't cost much, didn't take up an inordinate amount of space, and I didn't have to pay rent for that space.

Rotating rings and tubes would be a nice thing to see remain available.

I'd still rather see a modern Newtonian than yet another SCT on the market...

...did I say that out loud? :o

-Tim.


Have at it then...but I wouldn't borrow out of my 401K to do it. Your market will be the size of Parks' :lol:

#30 dgreyson

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:23 AM


I wouldn't need to sell many of anything if the tools to make things didn't cost much, didn't take up an inordinate amount of space, and I didn't have to pay rent for that space.

Rotating rings and tubes would be a nice thing to see remain available.

I'd still rather see a modern Newtonian than yet another SCT on the market...

...did I say that out loud? :o

-Tim.


Have at it then...but I wouldn't borrow out of my 401K to do it. Your market will be the size of Parks' :lol:


Rather than assembling telescopes, making all the classic style components such as tube end rings, rotating rings, saddles and Long F# tubes etc. etc. would be a better marketing strategy. Parks component prices were a lot better than the Scope prices.

ATM's and Classics owners will always be interested in new build and replacement parts. I'd very much like a set of setting circles and pointers for a one inch shaft GEM.
I had been counting on Parks to buy those because they were the last vendor that sold them.

#31 terraclarke

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:41 AM

Bob,
I love your sentiment, I have never heard such better expressed. :bow:

#32 terraclarke

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:50 AM

My only experience with them were their eps. Not the new ones but the pre-1980 ones. They made some nice eyepieces. I just gave a friend back a nice 32 mm Erfle so he would again have a complete collection. It was a beautiful eyepiece. He gave me a Unitron porro prism in mint condition in exchange and I needed it to complete my collection of Unitron accessories, but the biggest motivation was how much I knew he missed that eyepiece and that made me happy to do that. It reminded me of that military surplus ep that I gave up and have missed ever since (in that other thread a started a few days ago).

Terra

#33 tim53

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:02 AM

Yep.

While I've often said that I "don't like Dobsonians", the simple truth is that if I ever want a truly large Newtonian, I'm either going to have to have a permanent installation or I'm going to have to build a bloody Dob. ;)

You can bet it'll track and rotate its focuser, though! :grin:
-Tim.


Tracking is nice but Dobsonians really don't need a rotating focuser.. :poke:

Jon


They do if you want to take long exposures of faint fuzzies!

-Tim.

#34 tim53

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:03 AM


I wouldn't need to sell many of anything if the tools to make things didn't cost much, didn't take up an inordinate amount of space, and I didn't have to pay rent for that space.

Rotating rings and tubes would be a nice thing to see remain available.

I'd still rather see a modern Newtonian than yet another SCT on the market...

...did I say that out loud? :o

-Tim.


Have at it then...but I wouldn't borrow out of my 401K to do it. Your market will be the size of Parks' :lol:


Oh, I wouldn't! But having Parks' market size would be just right, IMHO.

-Tim.

#35 joerbiker

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:53 PM

Thank you Mirzam! If anyone has an answer I'm sure it would be someone from this group. So much accumulated knowledge!

I was really looking for some replacement parts and thought that the technical folks might be able to lead me there.

The search goes on....

#36 dgreyson

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:50 AM

Thank you Mirzam! If anyone has an answer I'm sure it would be someone from this group. So much accumulated knowledge!

I was really looking for some replacement parts and thought that the technical folks might be able to lead me there.

The search goes on....


So what precisely are you looking for?

#37 joerbiker

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:24 AM

A couple of simple items, the dust caps, an owners manual, and lastly the "pan" handles for the Parks heavy duty tripod.

If I had the manual I could be more specific on the pan handles. They don't appear to attach as regular slow motion controls would.

I appreciate any help/direction you can provide!

#38 dgreyson

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:29 PM

Someone makes bigger plastic dustcaps, I disremember the vendor but thats commercially available. the manual and pan handles dunno, do you have a photo of what a pan handle is?

#39 Mirzam

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 03:56 PM

These dust covers are very nice:

Astrozap dust covers

JimC

#40 joerbiker

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:26 PM

The only photo of the handles are Parks HD Tripod

I'm sure I could make something if I had a better idea of what they looked like.

That's why I'm hoping to find some owners manuals or other documentation.

Thanks!

#41 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:44 AM

My club is blessed with a large collection of old-school Newts on GEMs, and an optician who is an absolute master at figuring the mirrors and aligning all the parts. I love those scopes for their superb views. The only problem is I can't lift many of them to carry them outside, which presses our super-strong optician to move them himself. (Apparently, that's easier than coordinating two working together.) So, add embarrassment to the practical problem of moving big Newts!

I would love to have a big Newt permanently mounted in an observatory. I'm okay with Dobs for low powers, but hate nudging them at high powers, although I could build an equatorial platform to fudge that. Still, all told, I can see how Parks met its demise. It's just so much easier to carry a little SCT anywhere! You know the rule: The scope that shows the most is the best one can buy. If it's stuck inside, it shows nothing.

The problem was not just the cost and weight of their big iron. One could buy a used Jason 313 Towa for under $100, or a new old stock of the same model, Parks branded, for $1,200. Not a recipe for success.

That said, I'm sorry to see Parks gone.

#42 Littlegreenman

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:41 PM

Prediction: in a few years some, not all, some of the Parks gear will become highly sought after collectibles!

No longer made! Buy!buy!buy!

LGM :whistle:

#43 Unknownastron

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:53 PM

It is always sad to see a long-established company go away, one with a name we remember pining over in a magazine 30, 40, dare I say even 50 years ago! I never had a Parks scope but the ones I have looked through have been good performers, if not outstanding. I still have my 32mm Erfle 2" that terraclarke mentioned and it holds it's own with the more modern hi-tech eyepieces in that range.
What most of us seldom think about is that over the whole world, telescopes are a small business. Since we want as many as we can afford we think everybody wants one. Not so. Other than Celestron, Meade, Zeiss, maybe Unitron at one time, no astronomy business has been what most businessmen would consider anything other than small. A large dairy farm, a medium furniture factory or similar manufacturing company probably has more employees, moves more product and has a larger cash flow and payroll than any astronomy company other than the ones I named. Maybe not even those. Even something as ubiquitous as a Telrad was made by three or so people.
Clear skies and clean glass,
Mike

#44 Calypte

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:25 AM

It is always sad to see a long-established company go away, one with a name we remember pining over in a magazine 30, 40, dare I say even 50 years ago! I never had a Parks scope but the ones I have looked through have been good performers, if not outstanding. I still have my 32mm Erfle 2" that terraclarke mentioned and it holds it's own with the more modern hi-tech eyepieces in that range.
What most of us seldom think about is that over the whole world, telescopes are a small business. Since we want as many as we can afford we think everybody wants one. Not so. Other than Celestron, Meade, Zeiss, maybe Unitron at one time, no astronomy business has been what most businessmen would consider anything other than small. A large dairy farm, a medium furniture factory or similar manufacturing company probably has more employees, moves more product and has a larger cash flow and payroll than any astronomy company other than the ones I named. Maybe not even those. Even something as ubiquitous as a Telrad was made by three or so people.
Clear skies and clean glass,
Mike

Parks made fiberglass tubes. They didn't start making scopes until Scope City (Maurice Sweiss) acquired the company and they acquired the residue of Cave. The early Parks scopes were essentially clones of Cave's. I bought Parks parts for my Cave mounts.

Edited to add: As of this moment, both Scope City and Parks Optical are listed as "active" corporations on the Calif. Secretary of State's website. If they are truly defunct, then I suppose it takes awhile for this to change as assets are liquidated and the inevitable lawsuits are filed for unpaid liabilities.

#45 terraclarke

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:30 AM

Actually the 32 mm Parks Erfle was a 1.25 inch and it was a beautiful eyepiece. It was in the 1.25 inch socket of my Unihex, but now I have the highly sought after Unitron 40 mm monochromatic eyepiece to take that place :jump:

#46 dgreyson

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:39 AM

Prediction: in a few years some, not all, some of the Parks gear will become highly sought after collectibles!

No longer made! Buy!buy!buy!
LGM :whistle:


That just shows how clueless Scope city and Parks marketing efforts were. Had they any sense, when they got in a bind, they should have been posting on Cloudynights, Astromart and all the other Astronomy boards out there that they were having a fire sale and moved out a lot of classic and current parts inventory.

My gut feeling is that as they hadnt been paying their suppliers, pretty much all they had was out on the showroom floor and the back room wasnt chock full of Deluxe Observatory mounts and components. It had been picked clean over the years and all they had was bits and pieces of broken stuff.

I may be wrong, if we are lucky, maybe there will be a big auction one day and a hella bunch of scope parts and classic Parks scopes will come into circulation.

When AC Gilbert's American Flyer closed, the AF factory was several storys full of bins of pristine model trains and train parts. One dealer went in and loaded up his garage and spare room full of train parts. The vast bulk of it went to scrap dealers who melted it all down. What a waste.

Fortunately, Lionel Trains bought the production gear and moulds, and occasionally do limited releases of high end AF train engines for those who can afford it.

Scope City is likely hoping someone with big pockets will come in and buy the business intact or invest serious support in re-opening, I much doubt thats gonna ever happen.

#47 rmollise

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:19 PM

I believe you are correct. I don't think Parks produced that many complete scopes over the years--or sold many. I've been to countless star parties from coast to coast and have never seen a Parks Newt on an observing field, not one, not ever. ;)


There are just not enough out there to make an impact now or in the future and no reason to want one in preference to a Cave or a Criterion or an Edmund or whatever classic Newt floats somebody's boat.

#48 dgreyson

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:24 PM

I believe you are correct. I don't think Parks produced that many complete scopes over the years--or sold many. I've been to countless star parties from coast to coast and have never seen a Parks Newt on an observing field, not one, not ever. ;)


There are just not enough out there to make an impact now or in the future and no reason to want one in preference to a Cave or a Criterion or an Edmund or whatever classic Newt floats somebody's boat.


This explains why I can't find your "Choosing and using a new GEM mounted Newtonian: heavy metal always rocks (in the wind)" Book on Amazon then. :bow:

#49 rmollise

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:33 PM

There ARE no new GEM Newts....but I've got my RV-6 and Pal Junior, so I am good to go... :lol:

#50 tim53

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:37 PM

There ARE no new GEM Newts....but I've got my RV-6 and Pal Junior, so I am good to go... :lol:


This isn't strictly true. People who recognize the merits of the simple, all-reflective Newtonian for truly hyperapochromatic (no need for color correction because it wasn't messed up to begin with) and astrographic performance (short F ratios can use paracorrs, long ratios don't need them) have never stopped building GEM-mounted Newtonians.

This one I made the whole OTA, including the optics. others, I've made the GEM as well (Springfield mounting) My home-builts will be the last to go, if I'm ever in a financial bind, after the classics. The few modern store-boughts I own will be sacrificed first:

Posted Image

-Tim.






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