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Equipment Discussions >> Classic Telescopes

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turk123
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: Unitron history new [Re: Joe Cepleur]
      #6304360 - 01/10/14 02:23 PM

I like your comments, Joe. Old cars help us understand our fixation with classic telescopes even for us. This is a nice thread. Maybe because it involves the truly "classic" of all scopes (and I'm a Cave man). That is one of the reasons I took the opportunity to purchase the 5" Unitron. Partly to admire it. Partly to show it off at NEAF. Partly for a proven investment (it will hold it's value better than gold). But mostly to preserve it and restore it for others that will own it after me and make it available to the community of classic telescope collectors whether they can afford it or not. It is a beautiful piece of history that I am learning more and more about.

I will be leaving on tuesday to meet Jim Craft in St. louis (halfway point) to pick up the Unitron. And yes, I've rented a malibu with the fold down seats as he requested and yes it will be humidity and temperature controlled, but that in fact is what it deserves. It's Jim's treasure (he loves that scope), I'm just holding on to it for him.

Could Unitron make these scopes today and be successful? Probably not. Are their hearing aids a piece of art? Don't think so. Some things are best left alone. I believe Barry Kawa found out the lack of interest when he visited Unitron in the late 90's. It was no longer on their radar.


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starman876
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Reged: 04/28/08

Loc: VA
Re: Unitron history new [Re: turk123]
      #6304371 - 01/10/14 02:28 PM

sorry guys. having a bad day

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terraclarke
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Reged: 05/29/12

Loc: Just South of the Mason-Dixon ...
Re: Unitron history [Re: starman876]
      #6304381 - 01/10/14 02:33 PM

Sorry you are having a bad day Johann.

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Joe Cepleur
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Reged: 03/18/10

Loc: Dark North Woods
Re: Unitron history new [Re: terraclarke]
      #6304413 - 01/10/14 02:51 PM

Quote:

...it was quite common at the time (the 50s and 60s) to use paired comparisons of the 3 inch F15 refractor to the 6 inch F8 to F10 Newtonian reflector; the 4 inch F15 refractor to the 8 inch F6 to F8 Newtonian reflector. You see this repeated over and over in many of the popular 'observing' books of the era.




Loosely, doubling the focal length allowed halving the aperture (by diameter, so half the resolution; it was one-quarter the area, for one-quarter light gathering). Why? Can't be that astronomers were stupid back then. The far lighter weight meant the scope was used far more, and the long focal length so improved the subjective qualities of the image that this became the wisdom of the day. Unitron's cartoons lampooning the hassles of big Newts may not have been exactly correct, yet the were not exactly wrong, either. The Unitron (or other fine, small refractor) was a superb compromise, especially given the eyepieces of the day.


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Alan Grant
member


Reged: 04/20/10

Loc: Deseret Territory
Re: Unitron history new [Re: Bonco]
      #6305079 - 01/10/14 09:56 PM Attachment (22 downloads)

Quote:

The last line of Unitron's in the 90's were being offered at very expensive prices. Volume had dropped off and I suppose their costs rose as a result of low volume sales. The humble but beautiful 60mm model 128 was being offered for $1200 before they dropped the entire line.

Bill




I can attest to this. In 1997 when I bought my model 140, the list price was $1200.00. Unitron claimed the last of three left and they were 'redesigning' their scopes. I thought 'uh oh'. The tripod came in a cardboard box instead of wood and only two eyepieces. I paid $750.00 direct from Unitron.


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starman876
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Reged: 04/28/08

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Re: Unitron history new [Re: Alan Grant]
      #6305088 - 01/10/14 10:03 PM

What do you think of their re design?

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actionhac
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Reged: 08/09/08

Loc: Seattle
Re: Unitron history new [Re: starman876]
      #6305296 - 01/11/14 12:23 AM

People still like to use bamboo fly rods
Tube type radio & stereo gear
Black powder firearms
Piston engine aircraft
Wood boats
Long focal length achromats


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Qwickdraw
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Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Unitron history new [Re: starman876]
      #6305535 - 01/11/14 06:46 AM

Quote:

What do you think of their re design?




You tell me

Unitron


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clintwhitman
Caveman
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Reged: 01/01/07

Loc: CALI SoEasyACavemanCanSlewIt
Re: Unitron history new [Re: actionhac]
      #6305750 - 01/11/14 09:30 AM Attachment (22 downloads)

Quote:

People still like to use bamboo fly rods
Tube type radio & stereo gear
Black powder firearms
Piston engine aircraft
Wood boats
Long focal length achromats




RIGHT ON ROBERT! I own and use everything on your list!
Alan Awesome Scope! That truly is the last of the Mohicans I have the 150 Alt Az and really like to use the design. super simple and built like a tank. It is especially nice for solar work.
Like Chuck said, I only used the Classic car thing because to me it describes the same issues as classic telescopes. Comparing my 155E Unitron to a 4" Orion ED on a G-8 LM mount is like. Comparing a 55 chevy to a 2013 toyota Yaris. It is just silly!!

I posted the first photo is for two reasons. 1. The telescopes we all took to this event are the rarest group of telescopes I have seen in one place, except for CSPAMP
2. The group of Classic Telescope men Steve, Lewis, Robert and ?? Have the biggest smiles on their faces and being all togther is almost as rare as the Tinsley, Kogaku, Fecker and the Nakamichi all being in the same place at 8500 ft Mnt. Pinos

1974 150 Unitron Mount
1953 100mm F15 All Brass OTA

Edited by clintwhitman (01/11/14 09:59 AM)


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terraclarke
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Reged: 05/29/12

Loc: Just South of the Mason-Dixon ...
Re: Unitron history new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #6305999 - 01/11/14 11:30 AM

Tis surely a beauty Master Clint.

I like that alt-az mount far more than the earlier and less stable yoke mounts. Does anyone remember the Vixen Custom-D alt-az mount from 10 or 15 years ago? I had one and it was wonderful. Way better than the Porta Mount that replaced it. It took its inspiration directly from this mount. I wish I still had mine!


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clintwhitman
Caveman
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Reged: 01/01/07

Loc: CALI SoEasyACavemanCanSlewIt
Re: Unitron history new [Re: terraclarke]
      #6306058 - 01/11/14 11:57 AM Attachment (20 downloads)

Yep

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clintwhitman
Caveman
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Reged: 01/01/07

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Re: Unitron history new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #6306064 - 01/11/14 12:00 PM Attachment (17 downloads)

Terra,
Sold it to a friend for his kids with instructions to sell it back to me if he ever gets rid of it. This thing had a classic star test! And you're right the mount was awesome.


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terraclarke
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Reged: 05/29/12

Loc: Just South of the Mason-Dixon ...
Re: Unitron history new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #6306076 - 01/11/14 12:07 PM

Clint, the Custom D mount was very much like that but it had a counter-weight bar and weights that came off the front of the mount at an angle similar to your Unitron mount. The bar was threaded and could be removed. It had the upper weights permanently attached and the lower/larger weight could slide on a smaller threaded bar that screwed into the permanent counterweight. Those counter-weights made the mount oh so stable. It held my 4 inch Vixen scope rock steady.

Here's a pic from a current want add here on CN:

http://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=95516&sor...

I still have the Vixen green Tupperware accessory container by the way. Just like yours. I use it to store small telescope odds and ends.


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starman876
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Reged: 04/28/08

Loc: VA
Re: Unitron history new [Re: clintwhitman]
      #6306150 - 01/11/14 12:44 PM

That looks like one of mine Nice scope

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photiost
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 12/14/06

Loc: Montreal, Canada
Re: Unitron history new [Re: starman876]
      #6306522 - 01/11/14 04:21 PM Attachment (20 downloads)

Thought I could contribute to this by adding an image of my Unitron model 114 ota in its box.

The mount (not pictured) is also used for my PST solar scope. Holds that PST rock solid.

Dont know, how many versions were made of the 114 or its mount.


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davela
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 12/19/06

Loc: Pasadena, CA, USA
Re: Unitron history new [Re: Geo31]
      #6306793 - 01/11/14 06:25 PM

In response to a post way above lamenting the lack of Unitron parts makers, actually there is a Cloudy Nights advertiser making very good quality after-market clock drives for Unitrons. The business is the "Astronomy Shoppe". The drives are made here in the USA and they work great. The owner will even make custom mods if you've got a quirky early, less standard model to fit as I did once. They are beautifully made and work very well, and not even that expensive! Recommended.

Edited by davela (01/11/14 06:28 PM)


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terraclarke
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Re: Unitron history new [Re: davela]
      #6306956 - 01/11/14 08:11 PM

Davela, yes, those are nice drives that Astronomy Shoppe provides. One is definitely on my bucket list.

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Brian RisleyModerator
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Reged: 09/04/06

Loc: SW Florida
Re: Unitron history new [Re: terraclarke]
      #6313269 - 01/14/14 09:44 PM

Ok, the thread is back. Please only post about Unitrons or else I will lock this thread.
Brian


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Napersky
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Reged: 01/27/10

Loc: Chicagoland
Re: Unitron history new [Re: Brian Risley]
      #6358020 - 02/05/14 04:20 PM

Here is a link to a more reliable Unitron History. You have to have a login though. They were still importing and selling them in 1997 with no plans to stop.

http://www.astromart.com/articles/article.asp?article_id=902


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starman876
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Reged: 04/28/08

Loc: VA
Re: Unitron history [Re: Napersky]
      #6358097 - 02/05/14 05:06 PM

I really do not think they were still selling scopes in 1997 like they once were . Maybe parts and the occasional OTA. I will check with my friends at Unitron to make sure I am right about this.

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