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Sears, Meade, Simmons vintage OTA grab-bag

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#1 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 04:26 PM

The 60mm Sears Alt-Az I won at auction came in today - along with a large box full of goodies.

3 60mm OTAs (Sears, Meade Polaris, Simmons)
3 sets of eyepieces
3 diagonals
3 finder scopes and brackets
a few misc. oddball parts from Alt-Az mounts


The good news :

1) The glass on all 3 objectives is pristine, which the exception of some smudges on the Meade, which may be removable or may not.

2) All three scopes are in good cosmetic condition as well and all of the focusers work smoothly without slop - the Sears being the smoothest and most positive of course.

3) There were a couple of nice surprises in the bag of eyepieces.

The bad news :

1) The focuser label on the Sears has been removed, completely. There is no sign it was ever there. Why someone would do this is beyond me, but it is gone. So, I have no way of knowing (yet) which exact model this is, what "makers mark" should be on it (Circle T, etc), or what year it was made. The exact model and year it was made will be revealed when the second box shows up with the manual and a small GEM from the same period.

2) This Sears must have came from the "transition period." The finder is a poor quality 5x24 with a singlet lens. The crosshairs are gone and the objective cell threading is stripped.

So, here is what I am going to do.

I am going to mount the Sears on the little GEM and keep it for lunar duty. I have a good, modern, 6x30 straight-through Celestron finder that I will mount on it using a 6x30 metal 6-point bracket from an old Meade/Towa 80mm. I will keep the color-coded eyepieces and "surprises" I found in the eyepiece bag for use with the Sears - I'm not sure if I will update the visual back to a 1.25" yet. (if it's possible, I will) ... if not, I'll get a hybrid diagonal.

The Simmons and the Meade are going to be given away for outreach. I am going to sort through the big bag of goodies and put a decent finder, diagonal, and 3 eyepieces with each one. I'll clean everything up real good and make sure it is all serviceable. Then I am going to find a local school or youth-group here in Terrebonne Parish and give these scopes away for outreach use. I am a member of the Bayou Region Stargazers Network, and I think some of the other members may pony up a few things (like a small Alt-Az) to make the donation more useable. (scopes and eyepieces are nice, but largely useless without a mount) ... frankly, my local area is a black hole for interest in astronomy, and the kids around here are rarely exposed to it. So I am hopeful these are going locally somewhere...

Photos to follow later when I return home from grocery shopping (gotta run before rush hour and rain comes) ...

As for the "surprises" in the eyepiece bag.......


(suspense is a terrible thing!) :mrevil:

Regards and clear classic skies,

MikeG

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1638178-sears1.jpg


#2 twhite

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 04:45 PM

Do we have to beg? Okay, I'll beg. Must be *really* good, like some Pentax or CZJ orthos or monocentrics.

The best surprise I ever got with a Tasco scope was a Herschel Wedge and a 40mm AH. Not bad... though the Herschel Wedge is a real early one without any heat shield of any kind on it -- don't stand behind it for long!

(Note to admins: we need a graemlin that spontaneously combusts. That would be useful... oh, right now.)

#3 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 08:58 PM

Some photos. I edited in a photo of the OTA and eyepiece bags in the original post.

Here is another shot of the Sears tube, closer up. The focuser label is missing. The finder bracket is from a Towa/Meade 80mm scope. Interestingly enough, the Simmons OTA has a nice Japan-style black crinklepaint finish with a matching black crinklepaint finder with better optics than the Sears. So I temporarily have the Simmons 5x24 finder in the Towa 30mm bracket on the Sears 60mm OTA. How's that for a diverse setup? :silly:

The diagonal is a quality unit - all metal with a nice clean mirror.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1638649-sears2.jpg


#4 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 09:00 PM

Here is the objective glass. There is a couple of small dings around the dew shield I plan to fix.

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  • 1638651-sears3.jpg


#5 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 09:01 PM

Now for the eyepieces. First a group shot, a little blurry.

The Sears colored eyepieces on the left, Japanese-made eyepieces on the center, and a lone plastic-body (Taiwan or Korea) Huygen on the far right.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1638655-eps1.jpg


#6 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 09:18 PM

The Sears colored eps are typical Japanese-made all-metal types. All have some cosmetic wear, but the glass looks good in all - hard to tell with the little ones without trying them out. I expected these.

What I also expected was a grab bag of plastic-body Taiwan-made Huygens and Ramsdens typical of the later "vintage" period, right before "Made in China" became the norm. What I got was a mixture of older, Japanese-made eyepieces that did not come with the Meade Polaris or Simmons. These may have come with Tascos, Sears, who knows.

The first nice surprise was the "Diamond Z" 20mm Kellner. This very same eyepiece came with the Tasco 99VR 60mm I owned some time ago. Identical. This one has nice clean glass and good-looking coatings. Nothing is stamped on the barrel and "KE20mm Japan" is a label on the top. (not engraved lettering like early models) All metal construction.

The next surprise was a AH20mm eyepiece. I believe this stands for Achromatic Huygens??? This is a heavy eyepiece, all metal and tall. It is stamped Japan on the barrel with no maker's mark. "AH20mm" is a label on the top, not engraved. Again, the barrel is a little beatup, but the glass is good with good coatings.

The next "oddballs" (sort of) is a strange (to me) HM 18mm and a SR4mm.

The SR4mm is all metal, quite heavy for it's size compared to similar SR4mm I have seen. The "SR 4mm" is engraved into the barrel top, but nothing is stamped on the barrel. Assuming Japan manufacture here based on the apparent quality. No big deal.

The HM 18mm is a little odd though. Like the SR4mm, it is heavy, all metal, and has the lettering engraved into the barrel top. The eye lens is deeply recessed. And there is a brass thread-in element on the bottom, the field lens I assume. It looks different than anything I have seen on "cheaper" old .965" eyepieces. I have not seen the brass-cell lens before. It even looks different to my eye from the profile - black barrel top, chrome barrel, brass element. Does anyone have any idea what it is or who made it?

Lastly, there is an all-metal H9mm with a lettering label and no other markings. And a cheapie H10mm on the far left of the group shot - this is what I expected for most of the non-Sears eyepieces. The cheapie has a plastic top, a lightweight "metal" barrel and the quality one would expect from a Taiwan/Korea manufacture. It lacks that quality Japan feel/heft. I have seen many of these before and most are quite poor optically. Right now I am using it as a plug in the Sears diagonal to keep out dust.

Photo below is the HM18mm with brass element on the bottom.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1638677-eps3.jpg


#7 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 09:19 PM

Another ep photo (The HM 18mm with brass element) -

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  • 1638678-eps4.jpg


#8 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 09:19 PM

One more of the weird brass element ep -

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  • 1638679-eps5.jpg


#9 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 09:30 PM

I also got six .965" ep bolt cases. (a minor but nice bonus)

Here is a photo of the Meade and Simmons tubes.

The Simmons is 100mm longer at 800mm. It has a heavy feel and a black-crinkle paint finish. I actually like it and wish the Sears tube had a similar finish. Optically, I have no idea how it performs, but the glass looks good, FWIW.

Both the Meade and the Simmons are made in Taiwan.

The Meade 5x24 finder and the Sears 5x24 finder are missing their crosshairs. The Sears finder objective is not stopped down and the bracket adjustment screws are stamped Japan. The Meade and Simmons finders are both stopped down significantly - probably 5x15mm in reality. But, the Simmons has it's crosshair, so it's riding on the Sears until I find a better one soon.

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  • 1638695-otas.jpg


#10 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 09:31 PM

Last shot, the Sears finder.

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  • 1638697-searsfinder.jpg


#11 hub

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 10:29 PM

Hi Mike,

I still have the eyepieces from my first telescope (1965 Circle K 60mm FL 710). The 20mm H has the same brass cell for the field lense as you're showing on your 18mm. The other eyepiece is a 6mm HM with a surprisingly wide AFOV. Both are good eyepieces that I still use with my 60mm Manon.

Looks like you got yourself some fine vintage eyepieces. Congrats.

John

#12 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 10:37 PM

Do we have to beg? Okay, I'll beg. Must be *really* good, like some Pentax or CZJ orthos or monocentrics.


Wow, how I wish. Nothing that good I am afraid. If the box had included a few CZJ orthos, I'd convert them fast into a 5" APO ;)

I still have the eyepieces from my first telescope (1965 Circle K 60mm FL 710). The 20mm H has the same brass cell for the field lense as you're showing on your 18mm. The other eyepiece is a 6mm HM with a surprisingly wide AFOV. Both are good eyepieces that I still use with my 60mm Manon.


Thanks for the info. That gives me a ballpark figure on the date of manufacture. Does your 20mm Huygen with brass field lens cell have any markings on the barrel, like a makers mark? I assume it's the same as the Manon it came with, what is the scope marked with?

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#13 mikey cee

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 10:56 PM

Mike....Turn the finder bracket around it's on backwards! Mike

#14 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 10:59 PM

:lol: I had the tube seperated from the bracket and just slapped it in there in a hurry for the photo.

Although, I did have a modern Orion/Synta bracket on backwards for a while on my old 90mm Apogee tube, but that is another story. ;)

I was surprised that the Sears finder was low quality. Maybe an objective element is missing? It appears to be a singlet and the outer field is filled with rainbows - and not the good kind.

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#15 trainsktg

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 11:13 PM

Hi Mike,

A nice grab bag to be sure. I'm not so sure the Sears finder with the singlet lens is indicitive of a transition period, though. I have a 60x700 Scope 'Orbit', identical to the Sears 'Discoverer' (including paint color) from the late 50's/very early 60's with the same singlet lens setup. Cheapo finder, but the main objective has one of the best corrected figures of any scope I have. Just a guess, tho.

BTW: Interesting new Avatar. I'd bet there are only a few people here who would have been the right age to have seen and/or remember that stinker of a show :lol:.

Keith

#16 trainsktg

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 11:24 PM

Oops. Looks like it yet changed again. Never mind.

Keith

#17 Glassthrower

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 12:00 AM

I've been on a weird kick with avatars lately. ;)

First it was Chaka from Land of the Lost (how cheesy and obscure is that?), and now Dr. Zoidberg.

It's cloudy tonight and I have no easy way to mount the 60mm scopes, so first light will have to wait. The little GEM and tripod will arrive soon I hope. :)

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#18 BHunt

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 12:33 AM

Hi Mike,

BTW: Interesting new Avatar. I'd bet there are only a few people here who would have been the right age to have seen and/or remember that stinker of a show :lol:.

Keith

Hey watch the age comments!
Bill


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