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Equipment Discussions >> Classic Telescopes

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amicus sidera
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History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online
      #5735035 - 03/15/13 09:39 PM

Since February of 2012, I've been compiling a history of the Edmund Scientific Company as it relates to the telescopes and astronomical accessories they produced. In the course of this project I learned a great deal about the company, its instruments and the people who ran it, who were of the finest sort. I've also learned much about the people who frequent this forum, who are also of the finest sort, and who were, every single person I contacted, more than willing to assist me in this effort by sharing their valuable time and information with me, by critiquing my efforts, and who asked nothing in return. This is the high level at which this forum operates, and what helps make it among the best astronomy forums on the Internet.

The article, which is in Adobe .pdf format, can be reached at the new website I've created: classictelescopes.com, or alternatively classictelescopes.com/index.html, where it is listed under the "Articles" section.

Comments, corrections and criticisms are all welcomed.

Many, many thanks to those here who I contacted and who assisted me; the courtesy and kindness you extended to me is gratefully appreciated. Thanks as well as to those here who I did not contact, but who I am certain would have helped me, had I but asked you.

I hope that the article brings a pleasant half-hour, and perhaps a happy memory or two, and that it is enjoyed, much as I enjoyed writing it for all of you.

Fred


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joerbiker
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5735249 - 03/15/13 11:15 PM

Fred,
Great start to what I am sure will be a treasure trove of information on classic telescopes. Well done.

I look forward to checking back often.


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Bob Myler
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5735282 - 03/15/13 11:29 PM

WOW.

Among many other things - now I've confirmed how old my Astroscan is!


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actionhac
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: Bob Myler]
      #5735346 - 03/16/13 12:07 AM

Its beautiful Fred. Edmund Scientific my favorite, thank you!

Robert


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John Higbee
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: actionhac]
      #5735560 - 03/16/13 05:57 AM

Fred - thanks for doing this! Your article is a great read, and brings back a lot of pleasant memories!

John


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Rich (RLTYS)Moderator
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5735583 - 03/16/13 06:46 AM

Just downloaded it, can't wait to read it.

Thanks

Rich (RLTYS)


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rdandrea
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5735866 - 03/16/13 10:16 AM

Excellent piece of work!

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kansas skies
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5735897 - 03/16/13 10:29 AM

I took a few minutes to flip through the pages of your article. Looks to be very well done. I didn't think I had anything left from Edmund's, but about halfway down, there was my trusty Mag 6 Star Atlas. Although I've used many a star atlas through the years, it's the only one that's seen consistent use. Great work!

Bill


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terraclarke
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: kansas skies]
      #5735940 - 03/16/13 10:45 AM

Wow! What a wonderful addition to our classics resources. Well done! Thank you Fred.

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Happy-Idiot
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: terraclarke]
      #5736647 - 03/16/13 04:57 PM

Fred as I mentioned to you before, INCREDIBLE!

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amicus sidera
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: Happy-Idiot]
      #5737076 - 03/16/13 08:03 PM

Great! Very glad you all liked it!

I've already received a couple of clarifications and corrections, which have been checked and added to the article, as well as a few leads on further information which will be followed up.

If anyone has photos of their Edmund equipment that they've taken, and would like to have them added to the article, it could sure use them! Especially needed are photos of the white-tube versions of the following:

3" f/10 Space Conqueror
3" f/15 refractor
4-1/4" f/10 Palomar Jr.
6" f/8 Super Space Conqueror
8" f/8
6" f/8 Space Challenger VI (this last one is a 6" f/8 OTA on the 8" mount)

...all from the 1960's and early 1970's.


Also, photos of the following red-tube models:

3" f/10
3" f/6
3" and 4" refractors

...from the late 1970's and 1980's.

In addition, any photos of Edmund accessories or ephemera that might add to the article... even if it doesn't seem to be an important item, it just might be of historical value! Needless to say, any material that is used will be properly credited, both on the photo itself and in the credits at the beginning of the article. Photos can either be posted here in this thread, or sent to the email address on the website.

Again, thanks one and all for your kind remarks!


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trainsktg
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5737132 - 03/16/13 08:17 PM

Hi Fred,

Just emailed this to you, but also reposting a link here to an Edmund 8" f8 discussion from a while back. The scope is currently in the possession of a fellow enthusiast in Portland OR.

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbarchive/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/1735432/page...

Keith


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amicus sidera
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: trainsktg]
      #5737372 - 03/16/13 09:28 PM

Many thanks, Keith! I've updated the article with one of your photos of the 8".

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Masvingo
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5737792 - 03/17/13 12:29 AM

Wonderful article, just finished a most enjoyable read.

And well done on the website as well, many thanks for doing this.

James


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Rich (RLTYS)Moderator
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: Masvingo]
      #5738108 - 03/17/13 07:24 AM

I'm in the process of reading it now and so far quite excellent.

Rich (RLTYS)


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albert1
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: Rich (RLTYS)]
      #5739251 - 03/17/13 05:54 PM

Thank you for the enjoyable read Fred. Lots of good stuff in your article. You're more then welcome to use any of these photos from my Amart listing. Palomar Jr.

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snork
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: albert1]
      #5739375 - 03/17/13 06:44 PM

My limited knowledge of classic scopes just increased. Very good article.

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amicus sidera
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: albert1]
      #5739380 - 03/17/13 06:45 PM

Fellows, many thanks to each of you for your kind comments! Knowing that others have found it enjoyable makes all my efforts worthwhile.

Albert, I very much appreciate the offer of your photos, I've sent you a PM.


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rigel123
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5739601 - 03/17/13 08:37 PM

I bought an 8" and a 10" mirror blank from Edmund in the mid 60's. I hand ground and polished the 8" and that was my first major scope I had that I built myself. I never did get around to the 10" and sold that kit a number of years ago! Great memories!

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herrointment
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: rigel123]
      #5739813 - 03/17/13 10:30 PM

Looks like your site is off to a fine start, Sir.

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strdst
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5739866 - 03/17/13 11:55 PM

Very nice work Fred!

At $125 for the 3" refractor it was all the bang (and a few dollars more) for the buck than my family could afford but somehow I got it. That was 1966 and when "show and tell day" arrived in 7th grade I was ready with my awesome Edmund 3" refractor. Of course the presenter ahead of me was Dale Rowzee who brought his 3" Unitron to school that day. Oh well so much for my wow moment and what was a 13 year old doing owning a Unitron anyway... Jerk! ?

I recently snagged a 3" 60's Edmund Objective, and a 1.25 prism diagonal unused from the 1960's. Very fine stuff! I'm just sorry it took me nearly 50 years to realize how good this Edmund stuff really was! At the time I yearned for flexible cables, .965 eyepieces, and an adjustible tripod. While I was hangin' with some of the best I didn't even know it.


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cspell
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: herrointment]
      #5739941 - 03/18/13 01:05 AM

Great article. Will never forget the Christmas my mom gave me a Palomar Jr. A couple years later got the 10 inch mirror grinding kit from Edmund, which to this day is the mirror for my main scope.

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herrointment
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: cspell]
      #5739996 - 03/18/13 02:23 AM

Ya, got the Jr. for a gift in 1974, my most memorable xmas ever especially as it was cloudy till the end of January!

Thinking about it, I never realized how many good memories are wrapped up in that telescope. Geez, it could be a frustrating bugger to use, but I held onto it till I graduated H.S. and it solidified the hold the hobby would have on me.

At the same time, I don't want another one...gotta keep movin' on!


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refasali
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: trainsktg]
      #5740060 - 03/18/13 03:48 AM

Quote:

The scope is currently in the possession of a fellow enthusiast in Portland OR.




That would be me~
Thanks for the email too Keith.

I am excited to read this. I will say my initial word search of the document did not turn up any usage of 'Edscorp' or 'Eds Corp' which I'm curious about. Seems Edmund was stamping products with both 'Anchor' and 'Edscorp' early on?


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Bonco
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: strdst]
      #5741010 - 03/18/13 03:54 PM

Quote:

Very nice work Fred!

At $125 for the 3" refractor it was all the bang (and a few dollars more) for the buck than my family could afford but somehow I got it. That was 1966 and when "show and tell day" arrived in 7th grade I was ready with my awesome Edmund 3" refractor. Of course the presenter ahead of me was Dale Rowzee who brought his 3" Unitron to school that day. Oh well so much for my wow moment and what was a 13 year old doing owning a Unitron anyway... Jerk! ?

I recently snagged a 3" 60's Edmund Objective, and a 1.25 prism diagonal unused from the 1960's. Very fine stuff! I'm just sorry it took me nearly 50 years to realize how good this Edmund stuff really was! At the time I yearned for flexible cables, .965 eyepieces, and an adjustible tripod. While I was hangin' with some of the best I didn't even know it.



That is a great story. Most of us felt lucky and proud to own any of the "lower end" telescopes of the day. But we all lusted for the beyond our means UNITRON's
Thanks for posting. Bill
BTW I read the enire Edmund article and found it fascinating.


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amicus sidera
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: Bonco]
      #5743977 - 03/19/13 08:50 PM

Thanks for all the kind comments! Knowing the article's brought enjoyment makes me very happy It's just been updated with more photos of older items, thanks to Trainsktg, Albert1, Dave Groski and CharlieB!

Refasali, I added a photo and some text on the "Edscorp" and "Edmund Scientific" labels issue; will be looking into it.

Fred


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Napersky
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: Bonco]
      #5744053 - 03/19/13 09:37 PM Attachment (20 downloads)

Picked this up at the last Astro-Fest a couple years ago.

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Napersky
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: Napersky]
      #5744055 - 03/19/13 09:38 PM Attachment (16 downloads)

Ir's a 4" but doesnt fit the mount. Will bring it out and wrap a towel around it when it gets warm to check it out.

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amicus sidera
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: Napersky]
      #5744061 - 03/19/13 09:44 PM

Very nice! That refractor should have one of the U.S.-made Edmund objectives, as they changed the design of the focuser when they started making their own lenses. I've heard that they were pretty good, although I don't know if they were as good as the Japanese lenses that preceded them.

Edmund optics still sells 3" f/11, 4" f/15 and 5" f/15 achromats in non-adjustable cells. Have never heard of anyone using them, though.

Fred

Edited by amicus sidera (03/19/13 09:45 PM)


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BigC
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5745023 - 03/20/13 12:18 PM

Great article,downloaded and saved.

I need to send you a pic or two.

Just checked and at near $1K can understand why you haven't heard of ATM 4" f15 scope build.


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amicus sidera
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: BigC]
      #5745357 - 03/20/13 03:10 PM

Glad you liked it! Any photos you'd care to send would be great, too.

I know what you mean... if I was planning to use one of their achromats for an ATM project, think I'd choose the 5" for the relatively little extra that it would cost.


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amicus sidera
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History of Edmund Scientific telescopes updated new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5749922 - 03/22/13 03:08 PM

I'm very pleased to announce that, thanks to the courtesy and thoughtfulness of the fine folks at Edmund Optics, there are now rare and never-before-seen photographs of the Edmund Scientific retail store incorporated into the article, along with other photos of interest.

Classictelescopes.com - under "Articles"

Enjoy!

Fred


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Bonco
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes updated new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5750130 - 03/22/13 04:38 PM

Loved the pictures of the store. Would have loved to spend an afternoon there.
Thanks, Bill


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amicus sidera
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes updated new [Re: Bonco]
      #5750869 - 03/22/13 10:48 PM

Glad you enjoyed the photos, Bill! It was a fantastic store, indeed.

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BigC
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes updated new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5750938 - 03/22/13 11:29 PM

Just downloaded and saved the newer version-nostalgic pics,indeed!

By the way,it looks like CharlieB has already supplied nice pics of the 6" f8 Space Conqueror with clock so mine are redundant. And can't figure out how to get clock (RA) shaft out to clean it up....

Once the 6" is repaired ,and my 76/1200 OTA find is too, wy, I'll be right up there with those "serious amateur astronomers have either a 6" reflector or 3" refractor" as referred in several books.


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Bob Myler
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes updated new [Re: BigC]
      #5751073 - 03/23/13 01:24 AM

I remember looking thru that periscope. Not much to see around Barrington.

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Masvingo
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes updated new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5751223 - 03/23/13 05:50 AM

Wonderful pictures! Has made a great article even better!

Many thanks for this.

James


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John Higbee
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes updated new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5751571 - 03/23/13 11:07 AM

Fred - glad you included the Edmund Spilhaus Space Clock in your excellent history. I remember spending a lot of time looking over the full page catalog advertisements that first announced it in the '60s, and fantasizing over having one. Since the cost was about 3X my annual grass-cutting income, it remained a fantasy.

I eventually did get one several years ago...with nylon gears, which were indeed split, making the clock inoperable (as an aside, I believe that the majority of the Space Clocks were manufactured with nylon gears, with metal gears being restricted to the prototypes and a few of the first production units.) There is a website (the Sands Mechanical Museum, at www.sandsmuseum.com) that has an extensive section on the Spilhaus Space Clock, including detailed disassembly instructions, and where you can get gears (made of much more durable Delrin) for the defective nylon originals.

Cutting to the chase...with the information from Sands Mechanical, and the replacement gear set, I was able to restore my Space Clock to full operation...it's been operating perfectly for almost two years!

John

Edited by John Higbee (03/23/13 06:51 PM)


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budman1961
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes updated new [Re: John Higbee]
      #5753209 - 03/24/13 02:45 AM

Fantastic history lesson..........I so happy to have it, thanks again!

Andy Harris
"Star Jar" Entrant


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KeithC
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5753424 - 03/24/13 09:07 AM

Thank you for this contribution Fred! I enjoyed it very much. As a kid in the late 60's and early 70's each one of their catalogs would leave me spellbound for months on end.

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amicus sidera
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: KeithC]
      #5756179 - 03/25/13 01:09 PM

Weren't those photos that Edmund supplied wonderful? High resolution, too... did anyone notice the satellite scopes in the foreground of the late 50's image, next to the Spitz Jr. planetarium, or the C5 and C8 that was on display alongside Edmund's own telescopes in that 1976 image?

So very pleased that those photos could be obtained for the article, and I'm very happy that you folks enjoyed them!

BigC, if you get a photo of your scope, send it along anyway, the more the merrier!

James, are there many Edmund telescopes extant in Scotland, that you know of? I recall that they were sold in the U.K and Europe, as well as all the Commonwealth countries and Japan.

John, thanks for the information, I'll correct the gear comment in the section on the Space Clock; glad to hear that you got yours working, they are a pretty spectacular timepiece!

More added as it becomes available...

Fred


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Masvingo
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now online new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5760866 - 03/27/13 05:21 PM

Hi Fred

Unfortunately I know of no Edmunds in Scotland although I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't a few tucked away. Clubs tend to be fewer in number here - the weather doesn't help - and not being a member of any I'm not up on what there is out there. I think the import duties and VAT (sales tax) plus the relatively small demand and hence small sales volume made imported 'scopes rare until recently.

I grew up in the 60s and 70s in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) but sanctions there meant anything imported was rare. However my school had an astronomy club which had a subscription to S&T with copies going back to the 50s. I spent many happy hours pouring over wonderful ads for Edmund, Cave, Unitron, Criterion, Celestron, Questar etc.

When we came to Scotland in the late 70s the instrument makers Charles Frank were still on the go in Glasgow but other than my first sighing of Celestrons in the flesh I can't remember what other lines they carried.

Even today, a classic is a rare sighting on UK Ebay or Astro Buy Sell, there is the occasional Prinz and a Jason popped up around Christmas time (I was outbid) but mostly modern stuff. Occasionally I see a Celestron listed and get all excited but it invariably turns out to be modern and not orange. An early eighties C8 with multi ocular holder turned up last year but I was laid low with flu and couldn't face a 4 hour drive each way - still kicking myself

But I did manage to get a C5 in the New Year and another C5 has appeared on UK Ebay this week.

But to date no Edmunds, Dynascopes, Caves or the like

James


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snell1
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5762518 - 03/28/13 02:39 PM

This is just a beautiful piece of work, as well as a nice tribute to Edmund. I know how much effort and care you must have devoted to it.

I have one of the little satellite scopes, about 1960 or shortly before. It had gray crinkle finish and a helical focus Erfle eyepiece, large diameter, screw mount. Interestingly, they sold a screw-in aluminum adapter to 1-1/4" for it. I got the adapter and used it in my 6" edmund/cave. It was the only wide-field eyepiece I knew of at the time. It gave bright views but the outer half of the field was not pretty even at f/8.


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amicus sidera
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: snell1]
      #5763293 - 03/28/13 10:11 PM

James:

It doesn't surprise me that Edmund telescopes are a rarity, or even nonexistent, in Scotland; while I believe that Edmund did have a distributor in the U.K. in the mid-70's through sometime in the 80's, I've heard that only a handful of telescopes were sold. I was informed that considerably greater numbers were sold on the Continent, strangely enough, especially in France and Germany.

Glad to hear that you got hold of a C5, as they're fine scopes! Don't give up hope for an Edmund, as one never knows what might turn up.

Btw, the move from Rhodesia - and it will to me always remain Rhodesia (May She be Worthy of the Name) - to Scotland must have been quite a transition for you, even as a young fellow; from a moderate, high-altitude tropical climate to, well... Scotland!


Snell1:

Very happy that you enjoyed the article! Yes the eyepiece used on those satellite scopes, and later on the 50mm finder that the satellite scope turned into, wasn't too well corrected... funny, what we endured as far as eyepieces went back then!


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Masvingo
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5764605 - 03/29/13 12:56 PM

For sure, Fred, the highveld climate (our family lived in Salisbury, altitude just under 5,000 ft) was a lot more amenable to astronomy than Scotland, and being in the tropics it got dark pretty much the same time year round.

My latitude here in Scotland is 56* so whilst it gets dark early in winter it's too cold and when it's warmer in the summer it's too light!

James


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actionhac
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: Masvingo]
      #5777547 - 04/04/13 12:18 PM Attachment (12 downloads)

I noticed a little something in the instructions.
This guy, the yellowed page is from the 60's and the top page is from the 70's:


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amicus sidera
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Re: History of Edmund Scientific telescopes now on new [Re: actionhac]
      #5777573 - 04/04/13 12:29 PM

I've seen that, in different editions of their booklets, beginning in the early 70's; guess that they felt they had to keep up with the times!

I'd like to see the rare 1988 hair-band version of All About Telescopes...



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