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ASTROSCAN by Edmund Scientic Company

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#1 apfever

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 10:52 PM

I wanted to find an appropriate string to post some Astroscan information instead of starting a new one. A search in only the subject line created a plethora of listings so I thought I would try an approach that might be of interest in other makes and models as well.

Dating the Astroscan

Naming the Astroscan

Interesting information on the Astroscan mirror

More interesting Astroscan primary input

A lot on Fixing an Astroscan

Happy Astroscan owners

Nifty Astroscan bits and pieces

I'll edit and add to this over the next few days or until editing has expired. I think this general idea of indexing would help this forum a lot. A simple direct subject line, such as this thread's, followed by existing links would be a huge boost to this forums utility.



#2 apfever

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 11:10 PM

On to the matter. In my search for older models, I picked this up today. I had the owner describe some finer details over the phone and this one seemed a good candidate. A stupendous buy at $50 but not my oldest. My idea of updating my collection is to keep the older ones and pass forward the newer. This process has backed up on a few models to say the least and I'm in catch up mode. I'm done with the Astroscan search for now and it's time to reclaim that corner of the house.

This string is primarilly dating as the first index link denotes. Here's the latest haul, old but not oldest. I just dumped it all out of the bag.

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#3 apfever

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 11:14 PM

Here's the vast majority of the other hardware. I have a ton of literature in my archives, both original and copies. I'll have to go through that which is several hundred pages of vintage papers, some pretty wild stuff.

The absolute oldest is on the left. The serial number has faded off the oval sticker and I'll have to remove it for some forensics. Hopefull I'll make out some indentations or other remains.

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#4 Chuck Hards

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 11:18 PM

I bought a bunch of those primary mirrors years ago from Gary Hand, made a few nice little RFTs out of them. They seem to pop up on eBay quite a bit. Is the scope still in production today?

#5 apfever

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 11:36 PM

Yes Chuck. The Astroscan is the longest production running model scope in history, ever. It was still being produced the last I checked. It began in Sept. 1976 and hit the tens of thousands by 1980. The earliest I can read on these serials is 8607 and the newest is 52340. The oldest is illegible so far.

Here's a quick group shot. I'll have to take some of these down to the primary to get them up to par for selling. Some are good to go. My keeper needs a total - total.

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#6 Chuck Hards

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 11:38 PM

I may have a couple surplus optical windows for those. There are unperforated, aren't they? Isn't the secondary holder glued-on?

#7 apfever

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 12:06 AM

Yes, just glued. Three of these have the plastic top piece on the window, the oldest has the paper sticker.
First light! I sat on the front porch and propped it on my knee. The Summer Triangle was good so I went for Vega. I found the Double Double first then worked up to Vega. I wanted to go to the parallelogram and work over to the two guide stars for M57, the Ring. The whole experience was giving me fits though the view was good. Back inside I found out why, a nice surprise. This had the optional image corrector installed under the eyepiece, and that's what the small box was for. Nifty, original corrector box too.

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#8 apfever

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 12:18 AM

All the papers with this. The serial number is 10931 so it should be a late 70's. Owners obviously continued to add literature for several years. The bottom right two sheets are for the optional tripod bracket and image corrector. They are yellowed and a bit delicate, dated 1978.
The two SM-14 Scientific Method are identical (two copies) and dated 1994. The catalog (top center) is 1992. The Using Your Astroscan (top left) is copyright 1979 but the printing may be 1980 if I'm reading the back cover code right.

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#9 A6Q6

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 10:27 AM

"The Astroscan is the longest production running model scope in history, ever" I think I remember that statement made by Edmund, but what about the Questar that appeared in Sky & Telescope in 1954? :question:

#10 terraclarke

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 12:58 PM

The Questar is older!

#11 apfever

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 11:12 PM

This is a rush job as my only newer scope for comparison is leaving tomorrow. Here's a flash highlighting of some finer details of the earlier units.

The older bases are much thicker and heavier. They weigh in at over a pound heavier. The older ones have that threaded hole on one arm. The older holding knobs are the nice all metal ones, the newer ones have the plastic. The clamping knobs have a much longer shaft to go through the thicker base boss in the center.

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#12 apfever

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 11:15 PM

The older on the left. They have a chrome outside draw tube, the newer is blackened outside. The knobs are different. The easiest way to identify the older knobs is by the far fewer serrations.

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#13 apfever

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 11:20 PM

I've found the following to be consistant.

All the optical windows have an alignment notch that fits over a small protrusion in the housing. The earliest windows were not notched all the way through and the glass passed OVER the protrusion. The newer windows are notched all the way through.

The first few Astroscans had the sticker on the optical window. Newer ones got the plastic logo tab. Sorry about the blur.

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#14 apfever

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 11:24 PM

Older straps had the dog leash clips that went on the D ring inserst. The newer ones have no insert and the carry straps are fastened by a clamp knob that goes through a tang on the strap. This strap was never used, new in box.

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#15 apfever

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 11:28 PM

Here's a little more direct nitty gritty, the serial numbers.

The early models had a round green sticker and oval white sticker inside the focuser recess. The white sticker had the serial number hand written on it. I've seen this used up into the 10 to 11 thousand numbers. I don't know when this system stopped. The newer square tab in the center unit is serial 52,340.

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#16 apfever

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 11:48 PM

If you are lucky enough to score an original eyepiece, the first issues were the black one on the left with 1-1/8" focal length. Later ones came with the 28mm RKE with the red band. The black ones are often considered the forerunner of the RKE. I heard some refer to the black ones as an RKE prototype. I have the one in the middle which combines the two.

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#17 apfever

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 11:59 PM

This is all meant to help define the early scopes in gerneral of the 70's and 80's where collectors are going to be most interested. I'm not considering the modern productions. I believe the new ones come with a Plossl.

There's more to come regarding what stickers are placed where and country of manufacture cast into the housings. I don't know for SURE which one will sell tomorrow so I'll just take a bunch of photos.

#18 amicus sidera

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:43 AM

Excellent posts, Neil! :cool: A few comments:

The older bases are much thicker and heavier.


They certainly are; the later bases (all made since production went to China in the 2000's), while capable of holding the scope, don't look so nearly indestructible as the originals.


They have a chrome outside draw tube, the newer is blackened outside. The knobs are different. The easiest way to identify the older knobs is by the far fewer serrations.


Yup, models through about 1980 had the chrome drawtubes; this changed to black around the time Carton started making them in Japan. Personally, I think that the chrome is much spiffier. :grin: 1976 and some 1977 production had the 6 (?) serration knobs.


All the optical windows have an alignment notch that fits over a small protrusion in the housing. The earliest windows were not notched all the way through and the glass passed OVER the protrusion. The newer windows are notched all the way through.



You are thorough! Like the chrome to black drawtubes, this was most likely a change made when Carton started producing them.


The first few Astroscans had the sticker on the optical window. Newer ones got the plastic logo tab.


Not positive, but I believe that the sticker was used until early to mid-1977.


Older straps had the dog leash clips that went on the D ring inserts. The newer ones have no insert and the carry straps are fastened by a clamp knob that goes through a tang on the strap.


This was another change that occurred when production was moved to Japan, and continued when they were again being made in Barrington by 1985. Certainly a more secure method of fastening the strap, but I admire the utility of being able to simply unhook the strap from earlier models; when one removes the strap on later versions, the holes remain open, not to mention the fact that tiny yet inevitable metal shavings may enter the scope due to threading and unthreading the knobs.


The early models had a round green sticker and oval white sticker inside the focuser recess. The white sticker had the serial number hand written on it. I've seen this used up into the 10 to 11 thousand numbers. I don't know when this system stopped. The newer square tab in the center unit is serial 52,340.


The use of separate white and green (or blue or yellow) stickers stopped in sometime in mid-to-late 1978; for example, one I have in the 13,000's, and which was shipped in December of that year, has a single blue sticker with hand-written serial number positioned where the white sticker is in your photo (on the side of the cavity). AFAIK they went with the printed rectangular serial marker sometime in the late 1990's.


If you are lucky enough to score an original eyepiece, the first issues were the black one on the left with 1-1/8" focal length. Later ones came with the 28mm RKE with the red band. The black ones are often considered the forerunner of the RKE. I heard some refer to the black ones as an RKE prototype.


The first eyepieces (far left in your photo) were the venerable Kellners that Edmund had been selling for years. The center one with the knurling was indeed a true RKE, as it used Dr. Rank's prescription for the lens set; these started being shipped with Astroscans around the spring of 1977. The red-banded RKE's didn't appear until almost a year later in May of 1978, IIRC.

Looking forward to your further missives... :cool:

#19 apfever

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 05:24 PM

The serial number still exist but is very faded. I used a bright light and a compact magnifying glass to examine it. The photo was done with the bright LED flashlight and my camera set on ultra close up.

The photo shows a fair representation. In person is distinctly better and the first number becomes obvious. It is a series 5000. Whether the first digit is a 5 or 6 was immediate. In person the open circle of a 5 is obvious with the end extending pas the rest of the body terminating. There is also a discontinuity between the top line and the side with a slight change in angle. A 5 or 6 is no big deal, it is still over 3000 numbers older than my previous one. The remaining numbers appear to be sufficient to make out if I were to remove the label, but I'm leary of that. The second digit looks very much to be a 2 in person.

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#20 Chuck Hards

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 06:08 PM

Neil, I took the liberty of trying some image manipulation in order to bring out the numbers. I boosted the saturation and played with the contast a bit, and here is the result.

Posted Image

Stand back from the screen a bit, and squint. You just might be able to make something out. The second digit appears to be a 7 but could be a 2. The third has elements of a 3 or possibly a 5. I think the fourth digit could be a 4.

#21 apfever

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 07:58 PM

Way to go Mr. Forensic!

Great idea. I took three pictures. I put up the full scale originals with real time slides for brightness, contrast, tint, temp, and saturations. The slides were controlled by the mouse and produced real time changes. The second digit popped out as a 7 under several situations. I won't vouch for the last two. The last two are also the most distorted angle since they are the furthest inside the chamber.
I may try a photo again, but I'm not favoring removing the label which would possibly define the last two digits quite well. The first two are plenty sufficient for me 57XX.

#22 Chuck Hards

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 08:11 PM

At least you know with reasonable certainty within a hundred! Not bad.

#23 magic612

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 01:13 PM

Posted Image

Stand back from the screen a bit, and squint. You just might be able to make something out. The second digit appears to be a 7 but could be a 2. The third has elements of a 3 or possibly a 5. I think the fourth digit could be a 4.


Chuck, before I even read your post, my first thought was to put it in Photoshop and manipulate contrast and saturation... great minds... ;)

Anyway, for the digits, I think the 5 and 7 are pretty clear. However, I see more of an "8" for the third one. Initially I thought it was a 3, but the upper and lower sections where a "3" would terminate go much beyond what most people write for that numeral. The looping pattern much more appears to be an 8 to my eye, and I don't see much evidence of it as a 5.

I can't really get anything from the last digit at all, but I have good confidence that that third digit is an 8.

Great thread by the way - I've learned some things from it, and its helped me with some things about which I was curious with my own Astroscan. Thank you for starting this one, Neil!

#24 jjbird

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 08:32 PM

I think it's 5715.

#25 apfever

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 12:20 AM

Nope, it's 5718. Close jbird. I ran all three pictures I took, cropped, enlarged, and played with colors and contrast. The one became distinct between the 7 and 8. There was plenty of residual color to round out the 8. All the sloping and uniformity fit. Here's one of the results highlighted. You can make out the parts in Chucks, everything fully sepperated and each digit was continuous.

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