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SEARS /TASCO VS UNITRON

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#1 bendab

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 07:16 AM

I read a article by John Siple about quality of imports from Japan.Rival's such as Tasco and maybe others(Sears). "advanced observers could select from Tasco's ultra-precision line,a series of superior quality imports from Japan that rival Unitron refractor telescope in craftsmanship(Rosette Gazette 5/2004)." That being said and knowing the wealth of Unitron owners here on CN.Where are all these telescopes that John has point out as rivals.There are Many Unitron to be found on Ebay and other web sites given enought time one can find particular model if they waite long enought$$.But were are the others.There are lot's of 76mm Tasco /Sears models out there but the larger scopes seem to be lost in time.You never see a the 90mm Sears Discoverer or a 20TE tasco anywhere. How do they match up to be considered rivals. Are these scope that good that they are delegated to private collections.A Tasco 20TE back in the 60's went for $1200.00 according to the article.What would a 90mm Sears Discoverer go for on today's market? What Happen to these telescopes ???
Bruce

#2 trainsktg

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 09:08 AM

My guess is...alot of Unitron advertising. Perusal of some old 60's S&T's reveal the ongoing monthly presence of Unitron advertisements and not a peep, ever, from Sears, Tasco, etc. No advertisement equals low consumer awareness and low sales. Just a guess.

Keith

#3 bendab

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 09:33 AM

Sears & Roebuck was the largest retailer in the United States including Canada and Mexico the Sears Catalog was king?
Did they not sell Discoverer and Tasco Scopes.The Sears Catalog must have out sold S$T a million to one.

#4 trainsktg

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 09:52 AM

Yes, which might explain the dominance of the Sears and Tascos in the 2.4" and 3" categories. I'm not sure if the larger scopes would have been advertised in the regular catalogs...they may have been, or it might have been a special order thing. Also, I'm wondering how many amateur astronomers of the time would have sought out the Sears catalog for their larger scope purchases. But...I really don't know.

Keith

#5 Jae

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 10:34 AM

I agree that the distribution network established to sell the Tasco and Sears just did not lend itself well to higher end models.

I have some catalogs from the previous owner of my Meade 447 4" equatorial and it was clear he was considering the Tasco 20T based on the hand written prices, and time to meet a dealer to go over it. Seems in the end he chose the Meade which seems to me was a Towa/Unitron mix as Meade catered to the wider range of observers from beginner to serious beyond the Sears and Macy's.

#6 clintwhitman

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 10:43 AM

As far as compairing what is out there A unitron 75mm Eq. to an carton 76mm Eq Forget it! there is no simalarity The Unitron is much better.

#7 bendab

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 11:20 AM

Clint,
Being you are the ranking Classic telescope owner with the most toy's here on the Classic telescopes Forum ,in order to conduct a comparison of any two scope to a Unitron we are going to need a little wiggle room here.

#8 refractory

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 11:26 AM

I vote we *borrow* Clint's toys for the summer and exchange them amongst ourselves. Clint will be happy to pay shipping, knowing that it is all for a good cause and in the end we will see things his way, literally.

Jess Tauber

#9 Awesomelenny

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 12:03 PM

:funny:
-
See, I had both so I can make a judgement as I did yesterday in another thread. A friend of mine has a Carton refractor. I will be looking at his when I get together at his place for a summper star party at his place. My Unitron is going there too, so it'll be a great side/by/side comparison of optics, mounts, etc. That particular star party thread is ongoing via this thread BEOTS (Buckeye On The Sky) star party in Lodi, Ohio.

#10 clintwhitman

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 12:38 PM

I think you guys have the wrong guy! I have a 4" Unitron I have been restoring since April I am still waiting on the slomo control and the eyepiece tray from Harald and the Unihex he is sending The Objective is no good Shot, Will not even split Polaris. Harald is replacing it but it may take months to get it. In the mean time I look at Saturn and pretend it’s as good as it will be. I keep finding good deals on these semi good condition 76mm cartons and old 60mm Tascos that’s why I am buying them. If you go to Robert Provins web site you will see I am way out ranked as far as scopes. He has some bad Mothers. Also I am buying a 2.4 alt az Unitron from a guy Ron Pastory Lenny got his Unitron scope from him he has 70 or more scopes 3 16" cave casagrains like 5 or 6 Astrola 10s and 12s so I am a wee collector compared to these guys. As far as the 60mm and 76mm sears scopes (cartons)Like the one on E-bay that is up to $300 I just bought 2 more in boxes from a guy $50 each plus shipping and there supposed to be in good shape one has a motor. I am not getting these to play with, I am getting them because there selling for $150 to $300 and I am finding them for $25 to $100 it’s a good investment... And OK I get to play with them to. Clean off the grease and glass and check them out for free. And as far as cleaning them up and stowing them away for a few years Once I decide to sell Wouldn’t that bring allot of joy and use to people in the not to distant future? And save these from the destruction we all see when we get them? Then there are the ones Debbie and I are giving to her students at the stars in the park program trying to pass on the fever by putting together scope for poor kids to have. :refractor: :whee: :drool5: :whee:

The Unitron verses any thing is not fair because the mount is to cool, it is an absolute pleasure to use really fun swinging mount and looks the coolest. I do agree from some of the photos of the big cool sears scope I would really like to play with one but I think they are now telescope legend as far as buying one or even finding one in an attic somewhere but I will keep looking….

#11 bendab

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 01:33 PM

I have found some reference to a Tasco Advertisement the "Cream of the Crop" ultra precision refractors in the Sky & Telescope March 1969 thru November of 1969 issue.Just noticed the thread here on the fourm Rare Sears 90mm from 70-72 by habsburg8 .I think all the information anyone would ever want on the Sears 90mm can be found there . production numbers for the 90mm were 200-300 during this period. I also noticed that reference to the Rosette Gazette also in the thread is John the same John as in John W Siple?
Bruce


#12 mikey cee

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 02:50 PM

I'm getting confused here. I thought Sears and Sans&Streiffe were Towas? I see them referred to as Cartons. Were Cartons also made by Towa? All this gab about these scopes is like arguing over the collectibility of cars. Is a 1927 Model "T" any less than a 1927 Oldsmobile or Cadillac? They all have there attributes. :grin: :grin: Mike

#13 Glassthrower

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 03:35 PM

It is my understanding (based on the tutelage of the fine folks here on CN and the fruits of Google), that some scopes may match the optical performance of a Unitron, but they cannot match the workmanship and total-package aspect of the Unitron. I have heard Lenny say that some Sears scopes have optics equal to Unitron. I have also heard the same thing about a few other classic scopes, like some older Tascos.

The main difference is mechanics and build. Look at a mount for a mid-sized to larger Unitron and then look at the mount for a similar sized Sears or Tasco. There is no comparison. The Unitron is a work of functional art - solid yet beautiful. Also, the amount and quality of accessories available to a Unitron owner far exceeded that of Sears, Tasco, and others.

As far as the Towa "circle T" stuff goes - the stuff I have personally seen/owned/used has been mixed. I have had eyepieces, scopes, mounts, and other accessories made under the "circle T" imprint and the quality was sometimes very good and sometimes not-so-good. I had a draw-tube 40mm achro circle-T that was horrible and I had a circle-T 18mm orthoscopic eyepiece that was soft and unusuable. But I have also owned 2 Towa mounts that I liked very much, and I had a Mayflower Vari-Power 60mm refractor with sharp circle-T optics. So, I guess there was some variation. This is another key difference with the Unitron - it is my understanding that quality is very consistent.

Of course, all of my Unitron knowledge is second-hand.

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#14 bendab

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 04:56 PM

I was afraid that trying to compare the unitrons to the Tasco /Sears scope was not going to go over well here.I was going with what was in the John Siple article.I thought there was something about these scope that I was not aware of being you never see the 20TE or a 90mm Sears anywhere.As for a the work Clint and his wife have done with this hobby, one can only wish their were more people like him that take the time to work with kids and share the hobby.I don't want to ruffle anyone's feathers here my apology if I came across that way.
Bruce

#15 Bonco

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 05:15 PM

The main difference is mechanics and build. Look at a mount for a mid-sized to larger Unitron and then look at the mount for a similar sized Sears or Tasco. There is no comparison. The Unitron is a work of functional art - solid yet beautiful. Also, the amount and quality of accessories available to a Unitron owner far exceeded that of Sears, Tasco, and others.

Mike I think that's a fair assesment. After all the optics are primarilly based on the 2 element Franhoufer (sp?) objective which was perfected eons ago. These various scopes likely shared the same lenses provided from just a few suppliers. If mounted and aligned properly they should yield equal performance. It's the wonderful mounts and overall total package that sets the Unitron's apart.
I too wonder where all the 4 inch and larger scopes of all types have ended up. I've never heard of a large Goto or 6 inch Unitron offered for sale. They have to be out there somewhere in small campus observatories or private observatories/collections.
I find these "classics" scopes to be most interesting and I'm glad to know there are others that share this interest and keep them alive and in use. I love what Clint is doing. Wish I had the skills and time to do the same thing.
Bonco

#16 refractory

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 05:25 PM

For any of you that may be watching *the Bay* lately, it looks as if our old pal familygalintx (approx.) is back, buying everything up, after a half-year hiatus. Should we perhaps assume that there is a giant vintage scope group somewhere in Texas, or are people just looking for better optics to watch the border against alien incursions?

Jess Tauber

#17 sarastro

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 06:16 PM

I don't suppose Unitron sold too many of the larger scopes. Even a 2.4" or 3" was very expensive in 1960's dollars.

#18 trainsktg

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 06:18 PM

Bruce,

I took your post the correct way (I think). You were asking essentially why it appears the larger Sears/Tascos are relatively rare on the used market compared to the Unitrons of similar size. You weren't asking about quality and comparison.

Keith (my feathers remain *unruffled* :lol: )

#19 trainsktg

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 06:23 PM

I don't suppose Unitron sold too many of the larger scopes. Even a 2.4" or 3" was very expensive in 1960's dollars.


Agreed. Most people probably ATMed a 6" or larger reflector at that point. My 5.5" f11 refractor was completely ATMed (including the OG) in this time period...an absolute monster refractor for most amateurs at the time. I think my friend constructed it for $50 plus his labor.

Keith

#20 bendab

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 07:22 PM

keith,
Yes that's is it exactly, I was not looking for a one on one compairson.It was the reference in the article that used the unitron as a guide.I was kidding Clint on a earlier thread about the Sears and the Unitron.Maybe I was not clear enought in my discription.I think it is the title that threw everyone off.
bruce

#21 Bonco

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 08:11 PM

Reguardless, interesting thread.
Bonco

#22 BHunt

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 08:25 PM

The old Sears telescopes by far are superior.
Bill
I bet this will ruffle some feathers.
:lol:

#23 habsburg8

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 08:40 PM

After owning 20+ Unitron refractors of varying sizes and model numbers, Tasco instrumentation (their entire product line of refractors), and all of the Sears refractor line, I would rate them as follows:

(1) The Sears 90mm f/15.6 equatorial refractor from 1970-72 is superior to all 3-inch Unitrons (Models 140 & 142, etc.) and Tasco's 76.2mm equatorials (Models 10TE & 15TE). However, there are some optically outstanding 3-inch Unitrons around.

(2) The Sears 90mm is superior in portability and optics to the bigger Tasco Model #20TE 108mm refractor.

(3) The Sears 90mm is only slightly inferior to Unitron's 4-inch equatorial scopes (Models 152, 155, etc.).

Remember that the Sears 90mm and Tasco 76.2mm equatorials are all Royal Astro Optical Industries Co., Ltd. imports from Japan.

#24 trainsktg

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 09:04 PM

Just when we thought the issue was resolved, there's Bill and John stirring it up again. :lol:

Keith

#25 Wilsonman

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 09:18 PM

My first scope was a Tasco, a nice little 40 mm number which gave very crisp images. In the sixties I observed through a lot of Tasco refractors from 40 mm to 76 mm, many were rather poor. In the late 70's I had a Unitron 4" which was, perhaps the best scope I've ever owned. Absolutely no valid comparison between Unitron and Tasco. Unitrons were in another league altogether.


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