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Equipment Discussions >> Classic Telescopes

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Joe Cepleur
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/18/10

Loc: Dark North Woods
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: joerbiker]
      #5673702 - 02/11/13 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.


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Littlegreenman
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/09/05

Loc: Southern California
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: Joe Cepleur]
      #5675003 - 02/11/13 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


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Unknownastron
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 04/06/05

Loc: CatsEye Observatory,Rural Sout...
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: Joe Cepleur]
      #5675012 - 02/11/13 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


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: Unknownastron]
      #5675057 - 02/12/13 12:25 AM

Quote:

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.

Edited by Calypte (02/12/13 12:35 AM)


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terraclarke
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/29/12

Loc: Just South of the Mason-Dixon ...
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: Calypte]
      #5675445 - 02/12/13 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

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dgreyson
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/06/12

Loc: South Carolina
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: Littlegreenman]
      #5675563 - 02/12/13 10:39 AM

Quote:

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




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.


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: dgreyson]
      #5675728 - 02/12/13 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.

Edited by rmollise (02/12/13 12:21 PM)


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dgreyson
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/06/12

Loc: South Carolina
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: rmollise]
      #5675858 - 02/12/13 01:24 PM

Quote:

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.


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: dgreyson]
      #5675872 - 02/12/13 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...

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tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: rmollise]
      #5678058 - 02/13/13 05:37 PM

Quote:

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




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:



-Tim.


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tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: tim53]
      #5678116 - 02/13/13 06:16 PM

I've seen listings for at least a half dozen Parks Newts or HITs on ebay, CL or astromart over the past few years, so they are out there. They look like slightly modernized Caves, which isn't surprising since they got all the Cave mount patterns when Cave folded. The drives look like they were upgraded at least to DC drives, possibly with HCs, but I don't know if they were ever goto. New, they were astronomically priced (puns are always intentional), but used they seem to be comparable to similar vintage Caves and other Newt makers' scopes on the used market.

I'm betting that classic Newts (and used Parks scopes) will remain inexpensive like classic refractors were until a few years ago when everybody seemed to get wind how wonderful they turned out to be. Then, it might turn around, and even new Newts on gems might be economical to make, provided they're modernized with all the electrogizmology offered by the SCT makers.

Then, all you'd need would be for the potential buyers to get rid of those pathetic little hatchbacks they're driving and get a real vehicle to transport them in!

"Milady can have her Sport Coupe.
Let the fancies fondle their Phaetons.
And the snobbish are welcome to their Town Cars.
But, Give a MAN a TRUCK!"



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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: tim53]
      #5678141 - 02/13/13 06:32 PM

Quote:



This isn't strictly true.





Weeeelllll....what can I say? I wasn't being exactly serious, hence the smiley.

Of course there are GEM Newts and plenty of them from several sources beginning with Synta.

There just aren't any more of the PARKS sort of Newtonians. Which ain't a wholly bad thing.


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Ducky62
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/31/10

Loc: The ATL
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: rmollise]
      #5678379 - 02/13/13 09:21 PM

Someone has been selling a lot of "new" Parks and Lumicon and,so far, two Zeiss Asiola spotting scopes on Ebay lately. Maybe it is a former employee or a creditor.

Deepskymart

I just bought a Parks hybrid diagonal from them. $16 + $7 shipping.


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rdandrea
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/13/10

Loc: Colorado, USA DM59ra
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: tim53]
      #5678444 - 02/13/13 09:58 PM

Nice work, Tim.

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azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5678891 - 02/14/13 07:31 AM

I love PARKS but they were entrenched in 60s technology and just withered on the vine. China was the death of these folks.

Pete


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: rmollise]
      #5678913 - 02/14/13 07:52 AM

Quote:


Of course there are GEM Newts and plenty of them from several sources beginning with Synta.

There just aren't any more of the PARKS sort of Newtonians. Which ain't a wholly bad thing.




I doubt that the big old Newts will ever become popular the way the small old refractors did. They are just too impractical... they were observatory scopes and today, there are more compact scopes that do not require such a large observatory... They are dinosaurs.

But.. I do think there was wisdom in their design. Big tubes, rotating rings, composite rather than metal tubes. When you buy a Synta Newtonian on a GEM, the GEM is not designed with a Newtonian in mind, in particular, the tripod.

Tripods are great for refractors and SCTs, scopes that have the eyepiece on the wrong end of the scope. The mount needs to be high off the ground because the closer to the zenith one gets, the closer to the ground the eyepiece is. But Newtonians do not have this problem and mounting them on tripods means the mounting point is higher than it needs to be. Not bad with a shorter scope but not good with a big scope. Another disadvantage the Tripod mounted Newtonian is that the observer can end up straddling the tripod, the legs end up being in the wrong place.

Jon


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5679002 - 02/14/13 09:23 AM

Well, yes and no. There were some things to like about the old rigs, but the killer was that they were just far shakier than their looks and weight would indicate. For a portable telecope, a pedestal is just nowhere. Even a 6-inch like the RV-6 is a royal pain to put in a vehicle.

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tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: rmollise]
      #5679075 - 02/14/13 10:02 AM

Not in my vehicle!



-Tim.


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terraclarke
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/29/12

Loc: Just South of the Mason-Dixon ...
Re: Parks Technical Service new [Re: tim53]
      #5679151 - 02/14/13 10:46 AM

Too bad. It's a cool truck. I like it.

Terra


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actionhac
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/09/08

Loc: Seattle
Re: Parks Technical Service [Re: terraclarke]
      #5679209 - 02/14/13 11:12 AM Attachment (2 downloads)

I have some newts that require a GEM like my hillbilly super planetary.
This marvelous instrument is "hands off" at the extremely high observing magnifications.
Precise polar alignment and high precision drive keep the object centered in the FOV and you control breathing during the the tiny focus corrections.


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