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Cave Astrola options, You pick

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#1 apfever

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:38 AM

First questions: Did Cave make sets of mirrors specifically for other scope manufacturers? If so, might it be possible to identify such a mirror in another scope? More specifically, did Cave sell mirrors to Edmund Scientific for factory installation in Edmund scopes?

Here is your option scenario: You have a moderate size Cave scope, make it an 8" GEM Newt. The scope is in nice condition. You are given some options for factory original parts such as the Finder and Focuser for starters. Which of the following would you choose and why?

For the finder, both are 8X50 and in equally nice condition. The optics, mechanics, and cosmetics are the same condition. Both have a turnable eyepiece focus, both are the same basic mechanical configuration.

One is labeled the venerable cursive HOC, which I feel is yet undetermined for manufacturer. This one is slightly longer. It is not directly labeled as Cave, but is an original Cave finder. It has a nice round Japan Inspection sticker. Slightly thicker cross hairs. Slightly larger AFOV and thus TFOV with the same magnification.

The other is labeled AMA (Tak?). This one has ASTROLA on the objective cell, no inspection sticker. This one has more focus range. Both finders go to infinity but the AMA has more room past that. The AMA has a blue ring around the field stop, minor but there.

Equal resolution and comfort/eye relief.

HOC on the left, AMA on the right.
Your choice, which would you choose? If there some specific deciding factor you still need to know, ask.

Focuser is next and will a much more interesting choice.

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#2 amicus sidera

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:52 AM

More specifically, did Cave sell mirrors to Edmund Scientific for factory installation in Edmund scopes?


Not to my knowledge, unless they were one-off's due to highly unusual circumstances. Edmund had a few different regular suppliers in the years before they started making their own mirrors, UPCO chief among them by far, but all were optical houses, not telescope makers/competitors. I believe they did trade with Jaegers from time to time, but that was usually Edmund => Jaegers... the other way around, not so much.

As for the finder, I'd go with the HOC with the cursive lettering; but what do I know? Ask Turk... :grin:

Fred

#3 apfever

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 10:16 AM

"As for the finder, I'd go with the HOC with the cursive lettering; but what do I know? Ask Turk... " :lol: Thanks Fred

I'll express my choice after I get some decisive input.

#4 turk123

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 11:18 AM

I may be wrong but isn't the "Astrola" brand a Hardin Optical company product after purchasing the "rights" to the Astrola name from Cave? The one on the left may be a better replacement. Cave used different suppliers over the years including the government for some of their finders and guide scopes. Purchasing a "period" finder would be all you need to do. Most might be correct :)

#5 turk123

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 11:26 AM

First questions: Did Cave make sets of mirrors specifically for other scope manufacturers? If so, might it be possible to identify such a mirror in another scope? More specifically, did Cave sell mirrors to Edmund Scientific for factory installation in Edmund scopes?


Cave did make mirrors for other companies. He made mirrors for JPL , our government, and the mexican government. He also made the very first Questar mirrors for them At least 900-1000. I have never heard anything about him making mirrors for Edmunds Scientific. Could it be a replacement mirror by a previous owner?

#6 Calypte

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 12:19 PM

Cave had a somewhat improvised operation. The scope you got might not look like the photo in the catalogue. A friend of mine bought a new 10-inch Deluxe from Cave in 1970, and he had to insist on better components when Cave tried to pass on a cheaper focuser and finder. Paint was bought from a neighboring paint store, and the "standard colors" might depend upon what was available. Restoring a specific scope to exactly the condition it was in when it rolled out of Cave's shop might be difficult, but substitutions of suitable contemporary components would be entirely within the spirit of Cave's operation. WRT Edmund, I know for a fact that many (maybe all) of Edmund's current catalogued parabolic telescope mirrors are made by outside suppliers.

#7 apfever

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 01:04 PM

The two cave finders are genuine 1970s cave finders. I have both, that's my pic. I'm not replacing or restoring. I'm seeing if there is some notable bias preference for one over the other, and for what reason. It will be the same with the fosers. The mirrors Im refering to would be 70-ish as well. All of this is vintage of course, since Cave folded about 1980.

The ASTROLA print on one finder has nothing to do with the cheaper Astrola of today. That is what Cave put on some of their finders in the 70s.

#8 Datapanic

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 02:03 PM

Cave also branded eyepieces...

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#9 Datapanic

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 02:13 PM

Cave had a somewhat improvised operation. The scope you got might not look like the photo in the catalogue. A friend of mine bought a new 10-inch Deluxe from Cave in 1970, and he had to insist on better components when Cave tried to pass on a cheaper focuser and finder. Paint was bought from a neighboring paint store, and the "standard colors" might depend upon what was available. Restoring a specific scope to exactly the condition it was in when it rolled out of Cave's shop might be difficult, but substitutions of suitable contemporary components would be entirely within the spirit of Cave's operation. WRT Edmund, I know for a fact that many (maybe all) of Edmund's current catalogued parabolic telescope mirrors are made by outside suppliers.


When I ordered my '75 8" Lightweight Deluxe, I assumed I would get the Gray paint scheme model with the 4-inch polished aluminum setting circles, shiny counterweight and 30mm finder as pictured in the '74 catalog. When it arrived (13 weeks later), it had the pewter/wrinkle black paint, 6-inch black circles, wrinkle black counterweight and a 50mm finder! It also had a much longer Dec shaft and the legs were drilled and tapped for the levelers, but no levelers. I was perfectly happy with all that because I was getting the 'newer' design and better features.

I think the catalogs eventually had a disclaimer that their pictures in the catalog may not represent what was delivered.

#10 turk123

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 02:19 PM

Cave also branded eyepieces...


I have never found an "astrola" in a cave catalog. Are you sure that that came originally from Cave? Hardin made the "Astrola" eyepieces and most were considered so-so. Brandon and Gayland eyepieces are in the Cave catalogs. Could I be wrong? :question:

#11 Masvingo

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 02:48 PM

The 76 price list I have (marked as valid to January 31 1977) shows the following eyepieces -
Astrola Kellner: 6mm, 9mm, 12mm, 20 mm, 25mm, 40mm
Abbe Orthoscopic (Orthostar by Nikon): 4mm, 6.6mm, 10mm, 16mm, 20mm, 26.6mm
Top Quality Ortho: 4mm, 6mm, 12mm, 25mm
Erfle: 20mm Orthostar, 16.3mm Galoc

#12 apfever

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 05:13 PM

Cave also branded eyepieces...


I have never found an "astrola" in a cave catalog. Are you sure that that came originally from Cave? Hardin made the "Astrola" eyepieces and most were considered so-so. Brandon and Gayland eyepieces are in the Cave catalogs. Could I be wrong? :question:


Turk,

My Astrola marked 50mm finder is original issue with my 10", the HOC is original issue with my 6". I believe Clint has the exact same Astrola (identical every way) finder with his Cave as well. I think Jon (PiSigma) has this finder as well. Or they HAD in the past.

Here's another match, both OTAs have one set of finder hole mounts, no extras. The HOC is slightly longer and the spacing of the rings won't accomodate the shorter AMA. Both sets of rings match each finder just right.

I'd still like to get some preferences on which finder would be prefered. A revamp is that I'm looking for a general preference that would be for some common advantage I'm unaware of. Otherwise, I call it a toss. Example: I expected a few coices for the TAK, just because it's a TAK. That hasn't happened.

#13 turk123

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 06:21 PM

That is very interesting. I did not realize cave actually branded those items. All of the caves I own do not have that finder or eyepieces. I wonder where the name "Astrola" came from. Interesting trivia question.

I've passed on eyepieces with the astrola name. It is known that Hardin did continue later to make an eyepiece with the astrola name on it.

#14 PiSigma

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 06:42 PM

The AvA Takahashi on my 10" Custom Super Deluxe does not have Astrola engraved on it like yours.

But the SYW finder on my 1974 8" Model B Deluxe does have a little Cave Astrola sticker on it.

I wouldn't really have much of a preference for one over the other except one does say Cave Astrola on it.

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#15 turk123

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 07:01 PM

My 10" has the SYW with the turning focuser. No sticker though!

#16 Datapanic

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 07:21 PM

The 2 Astrola eyepieces I have are really old. They came in a box of goodies of other old stuff with the Maynard Clark scope, including the Brandons.

The 6mm has "Astrola Triplane 6mm" and the other one I have is "Astrola Kellner 26mm". The 26mm was originally his customized cross-hair eyepiece for the polar scope.

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#17 astro140

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:52 AM

[quote name="turk123"]"That is very interesting. I did not realize cave actually branded those items. All of the caves I own do not have that finder or eyepieces."

Hi Tom,
I can confirm that Cave sold eyepieces with "Astrola" on them. Pictured is a 12mm Kel1ner eyepiece that I purchased directly from Cave (mail order), probably around 1960-1962 (back when I was young :)) Still had the box it came with in my old eyepiece case.
Steve,
New Mexico

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#18 astro140

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:57 AM

My "Astrola" branded 12 mm Kellner also had Japan and circle AvA (generally attributed to third party Takahashi on this forum...although I have never seen any paperwork to document this)embossed on the barrel

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#19 astro140

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 01:02 AM

I also have an "Astrola" branded Cave finder that I ordered around 1960 from Cave Optical that I used on my 3" f/15 Hutchinson refractor.

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#20 astro140

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 01:04 AM

The Cave finder has the cursive HOC on it

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#21 clintwhitman

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 04:50 AM

I like your thread!! Interesting!
I have all this stuff.

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#22 clintwhitman

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 04:59 AM

The Astrola AMA finder on my 1965 F8 Cave is the cream of the crop. At one time I think I owned 6 Cave finders from various years. Now am down to three now. All the Astrola Eyepieces are very nice also. I feel that during the 1960s Cave really hit the mark with all of the equipment they sold. The front row, 4 of them are the original Astrolas that were purchased from Cave in 1965 with my 10" F8
Tri-Plane 6mm, 9mm ortho, 12mm, 26mm, Out of the 4 eyepieces the 12mm has put up some very very good images. It has a sweet spot that is scary sometimes.

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#23 clintwhitman

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 05:17 AM

Some of the other options Cave offered were focusers. The original Rukes focusers while crude are some of my favorites. Why? Because they were made by the "Little old Lady from Pasadena" :jump:
Look!! I got the 10th one they made!! Wow? Well that could mean it was supposed to get put on my 10" scope I suppose.

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#24 clintwhitman

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 05:35 AM

My "SKY GIANT STORY"
Some years ago I rebuilt an older upgrade focuser "The Sky Giant" for the Cave. I had it finished as in the photo. Then someone needed one for a restoration they were doing on a 12" Cave from the 1960s so I sent it to them. 2 years later I received a brand new unused Sky Giant in the mail without a note or anything?
(If you read this and it was you Say Something!!)
So at this point I have a brand new, period correct, upgrade "Sky Giant" Focuser sitting on a shelf and so far I cannot bring myself to modify the original Cave as it came from the factory. :confused:
(aveman

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#25 apfever

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 08:51 AM

Sheesh Clint,

I didn't know the Sky Giant was an option, I have one of those too. It came with my 8" Astroscopics.

I haven't had time to get photos. The two focusers I'm trying to choose between are Both original Cave put on their scopes. One is a beauty standard 1.25" and the other the Carle Helical Photo with all the adapters and paper work.

Here is the standard. This one is nice.
I'll have to get to the shed for the Carle, I think it's somewhere behind the slop buckets.

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