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PENNCREST, a JC Penny scope brand

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#1 apfever

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 11:09 AM

Here's all the subject search links I found for the last 5 years, as of this posting.

General Penncrest

more general Penncrest

Chuck's nice Penncrest

Here's the one I just aquired. I don't count freebies as a notable 'Deal of the year'. I feel the steal of a deal super bargains are the one's where the seller has a price, wants their money, and isn't the 'ignorant grandmother' type that should be informed and paid more.

This was a feebie by a second hand owner so there is no provenance. He knew it was NOT something to throw away but it needed help outside of his interest, he used it, but it was just time to try and get it somehwere else appropriate. I told him I could go through it and give it the best chance, and that I would share it and get it out for star light - hopefully with an outreach. Thus I begin here. He left it outside under the garage eave, fairly well protected from the rain storm I picked it up in. Nice house, nice neighborhood.

It was a rag pack. One broken shard remain of the box handle, and a typical loose dove tail on one corner. Dent visisble in the tube is the worst of it and not bad about a nickle size and shallow. Surface paint marks, small but a few of them scattered around.

This is as opened and I have not removed it or inventoried yet.

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#2 apfever

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 11:14 AM

I centered this as well as possible. Click on the "Attachment" link in the header of this entry, if you want to try making a copy. I had to use the medium close up setting so it is not a particularly flat field photo. I do not have a DSLR or telephoto for deep field.

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#3 apfever

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 11:16 AM

From the other side if you want to try combining or just another option.

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#4 madeline

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 01:15 PM

Neil, I just recently picked up a J.C. Penny's telescope. Do you know when they stopped using the Penncrest name?

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#5 Chuck Hards

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 01:19 PM

Penncrest was not just a brand for telescopes and microscopes, but just about every product they sold at one time. I've seen toasters, cameras, film editors, irons, you name it, it was branded Penncrest. But no idea when it was dropped.

#6 apfever

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 02:37 PM

This will work. It will require a hardware run for some washers, matching set of tripod hub bolts, tripod chain, etc.

It is missing the tail piece of the finder. I have the 6X30 reticle eyepiece with good crosshairs but no threaded end piece for the finder. The finder ota end is female and the fitting is male. I held the eyepiece in position by hand and have a sharp image with sharp hairs. I may have a basket finder.

=============-------------===========-----------
WHAT I could use:
Confirmation on the original tripod to hub bolts. This seems to have a lot of 1/4-20 threaded parts, not metric. The bolt head type. I believe the original are straight slot pan or round head. These would likely be 100% threaded like a tap bolt. I'll try for a shoulder bolt, but I could use the thread size and head type.

I could use a close up of the chain. The leg brackets and tension screws are all original and good. It has the hooks on the bootom brackets for the chain. I'd like to try to match the chain and that will take a picture for my pea brain.

The toe guard. A picture if it is fancy with any pertinent info. Just a head description if it is boring, washer or not.

A picture of the finder eyepiece end. The eyepiece ring and how the eyepiece is held in. Anything pertinent about that end.
-------===============-----------------==================

The double threaded adapter for the DEC slo-mo control shaft was not only stripped, it was broken in half between the external housing threads and the straight section. Amazing that the threaded control rod is in good shape and the threads in the housing are in good shape. I have some basket case mounts to cross. If nothing matches I can get a bolt to match the housing, then drill and tap it to match the control rod.

This thing had some real bass ackwards assembly. I don't doubt the seller looked at the moon (said he did), but that would have been a feasable chore. The OTA is good. It came with ONE eyepiece, Hyg. 6mm with a sun filter. I checked the optics for gross errors at 167X (over 60X per inch)on a washed out cloudy day today. Not bad, no problems. I can't wait to get it dark with a reasonable power. Guess I have to. Optics are clear and clean. Even the one ep does not have the load of speckles a scope in this condition is notorious for. The focuser is smooth and the pull tube is smooth with perfect friction. I used the image corrector in the test as well since it's terrestrial so I really loaded the optical train. Not bad.
No rust issues. The floppies are shiney into the windings.

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#7 apfever

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 02:47 PM

Interesting Chuck. Yours, mine, and one in the opening links have the same label with Lot No. 626-2593.
Madeline's is Lot No. 626-1007 which is a smaller number but I have no idea if there is any cronological application.

Here's the other side. The hardware will be with a town run tomorrow morning so I could any of the preceeding info.
Thanks.

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#8 Andy Taylor

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 03:09 PM

Looks the same as my Prinz Astral 500 (UK) scope, identified in an earlier thread as a Sears (US) scope. Same paint, same mount. An exact twin almost - mine's a 6mm x 900mm.

Made by Towa.

Superb.

#9 Mike E.

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 03:16 PM

Neil, I just recently picked up a J.C. Penny's telescope. Do you know when they stopped using the Penncrest name?

I note that in the photo your Refractor has a "Reflector" Label. :question:

Our 114mm Reflector had this label.....

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#10 madeline

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 03:19 PM

Funny, I looked but never noticed that before. :foreheadslap:

#11 Bomber Bob

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 03:28 PM

Thanks y'all! I just knew there had to be more JCP scopes out there. Brings back memories: My Mom used to take us to the JCP odd lots store in Marietta, GA back in the early 70s, and I recall seeing several scopes there on each visit. Wish I could remember the specs, but I'm pretty sure one was a 4" class refractor, but I don't think it had the Penncrest label - maybe a Tasco?

Your scopes have been Registered!

#12 apfever

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 03:28 PM

I did a peak on my Sears 6339 still in the box. I did not set up a side by side.

The lens cell, focuser, and focal length are different. The finder and mount look the same asside from my missing ep end.

The mount and tripod sure look the same down to the hardware. So close I'd have to unpack my Sears and do a side by side. Not happening now. Both made by Circle T and I'd guess around the same time. I am curious so when I have time.....

#13 DocFinance

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 03:52 PM

Thanks y'all! I just knew there had to be more JCP scopes out there. Brings back memories: My Mom used to take us to the JCP odd lots store in Marietta, GA back in the early 70s, and I recall seeing several scopes there on each visit. Wish I could remember the specs, but I'm pretty sure one was a 4" class refractor, but I don't think it had the Penncrest label - maybe a Tasco?

Your scopes have been Registered!


I remember the Sears Outlet in Charlotte had Sears scopes in the 80s, but I was more interested in getting a cheap (then) CD player! :lol:

#14 Bomber Bob

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 05:24 PM

The mount castings on my 80mm Tasco (Towa) from 1978 were slightly larger than those I've seen on the 60mm models, and the end cap (that the C/W shaft screwed in to) was round, tapered, with a "button" top. With all the re-brandings, I think Towa probably sold more scopes than Royal or SYW.

#15 Chuck Hards

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 10:02 PM

I've got the full manual, Neil, if you are missing any pages I'd be happy to scan it for you. I see you have the image corrector, as well. This telescope certainly came well-equipped. I like the solar projection screen and use it once in a while (with a cheap eyepiece, lol).

I have ONE motor drive for these EQ-2 style mounts, currently have it on the mount I use for my PST, but I've thought often of transferring it to the Penncrest.

#16 apfever

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 01:36 AM

Now that you mention it Chuck, I don't have a manual.

Bob, the mount on my 80mm Tasco 17T is the same exept for the larger OTA clam.

My Sears 6333 came with a lower tripod chain and hooks. I'll use it for a hardware guide later this morning.

Here's side by side with the Sears 6333. The only difference in both tripod and mount is that the Sears has marks on the leg extensions. Some parts are assembled 180 such as the RA worm shaft and saddle. Besides the leg marks they are identical down to the hardware. The Sears has one differend shaped knob on a floppy if you want to consider that integral to the mount. I'll take both to the hardware store this morning and do a hardware update.

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#17 Chuck Hards

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 12:27 PM

I'm helping my daughter move this weekend, Neil, but will scan the manual in the next couple of days.

I can't really tell from the photos, does yours have the leg brace tray light?

I used to shoot a lot of 8mm film in the 70s with a camera given to me by my grandfather. He gave me a whole setup, camera, projector, screen, and a Penncrest editor. I dug out the editor to look it over, it hasn't seen daylight in decades. Still works!

#18 apfever

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 03:21 PM

The Penncrest did not come to me with a light.
The Sears might have but moved somewhere else, I'm not sure. I have around 6 or so of those tray lights, all dedicated - to something.

#19 apfever

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 08:40 AM

CHAINS.

This is interesting. My Sears 6333 came to me with this small sash chain and center ring. The Penncrest did not have the chain but does have the hooks in the legs. The Sears and Penncrest are completely independent aquisitions and both have identical hooks in the legs. I checked some other similar Circle T tripods and found some lower brackets factory drilled for the hooks but no hooks installed.

There is no mention of the chain in any paperwork and I have the original manual for the Sears.

I'd like to know if any one else has this chain set up on their small Sears or Penncrest, and what kind of chain it is. The Sears chain is called a SASH CHAIN. I stayed true to form but only found the larger size for the Penncrest - I'm OK with that for now. I believe the smaller one is a size 8 while I have the size 25.

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#20 Mr Magoo

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 09:24 AM

Neil my Sears 6305 has the small sash chain.

#21 apfever

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 09:28 AM

New leg tips. This entire process, including the next entry, only took a few minutes for a full set. That includes time figuring out the socket idea.

I took the old tip in and matched the top head size. These stoppers are available at almost any hardware store. I hand held the first one just to check for drill friendly and they drill very well without grabbing or walking. I then found a socket that flushed to the head. Original depth was checked by marking a small rod (handy allen wrench in my case).

All except one were only eyeballed for center with specific reason I'll get to in a second. One hole had to be measured, roughly. I found a slip fit bit, then backed off 1/64". The hole is noticably smaller but goes onto the pins nicely, even better than original.

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#22 apfever

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 09:36 AM

Next is a trip to the sander. This was done entirely by hand, with rotating motions. I only wanted to knock off the square bottom edge. They sand easy so the machine is not necessary but it makes it easier. I went one step after this photo by rotating them around on a piece of 400 grit laid in the palm of my hand.

The stoppers are longer than the original tip base. It would be easy to trim them but I opted to keep them slightly longer.

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#23 apfever

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 09:47 AM

Here's the reason I eyeballed the drilling. These guys couldn't hit a bullseye if their life depended on it. The pins are off center by varying degrees. Eyeballing the drilling gave me enough variance (still very little) to match to the leg errors, then rotate to best fit on the wood. It worked great.

The leg marked with the arrow was so far off I did measure that one and make an offset mark for drilling. This also shows all those identical chain hooks that would seem to be factory. The center leg is missing the metal protector tab for the tension bolt and I'll replace it with a piece of sheet metal.

Going back to the sander picture, you can see the original tips had a collar that extended up over part of the wood. None of these collars survived on any of mine. I could easilly see where the collars were stress stretched over the wood due to the pin offsets.

A future consideration is putting on some heat shrink with a little rubber glue between the tip top and heat shrink.

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#24 Chuck Hards

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 10:49 AM

Neil, that rubber stopper replacement tip trick is gold. You've mentioned it in another thread and I used it to replace a missing tip on my own Penncrest.

Many thanks!

#25 roscoe

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 06:28 PM

The small sash chain is getting hard to find. If you know of an old local-type hardware store (the kind that's been there for 100 years) check there....they might still have some in the back storeroom.... Until I found a short piece, I had been using small brass chain that looks like an endless set of small 's' shapes, each one twisted a quarter turn.






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